The Full Count: Miserable in Minnesota


1. Lost Season, Lost GM: The Minnesota Twins have declined after winning the division last year, with an unimpressive 72-74 record. To make their situation worse, their longtime GM, Terry Ryan, announced he will resign at the end of the season. Ryan, who has been with the team for 13 years, has been a brilliant manager of a small payroll. The Twins have won 4 out of the last 5 division titles, relying mainly on homegrown talent instead of expensive free agents. Ryan, who will be replaced by assistant GM Bill Smith, has become one of the game’s most respected administrators. He will leave the Twins with an excellent talent core, with All Star caliber players in Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano (when he finally returns), Torri Hunter, Justin Morneau, and Joe Mauer. The key for new GM Smith will be in keeping as many of these players as possible while staying within the franchise’s limited budget.

2. Getting Closer: The San Diego Padres lost ground on two teams with one loss. Both the Dodgers and Phillies are within 1.5 games of them for the wild card lead after the Dodgers defeated the Padres 6-3. James Loney had three hits and four RBIs, and Rafael Furcal had three runs and three steals for the Dodgers. David Wells, who was cut by the Padres a month ago, was victorious against his former teammate Greg Maddux. Wells is 3-0 since joining the Dodgers. The Phillies also gained a game on San Diego with a 12-4 rout of the Rockies. Chase Utley homered and Aaron Rowand had two RBIs as the Phils roughed up Jeff Francis for eight runs. The Phillies will travel to New York to play the Mets this weekend, while the Dodgers play the Diamondbacks and the Padres face the Giants.

3. 20 losses?: It is amazing that the Cardinals’ Kip Wells has stayed in the rotation the entire season. He is 6-17 on the year after another loss on Thursday, leading the majors in losses. Wells could challenge for 20 losses, which has not been done since Mike Maroth went 9-21 in 2003. Wells has a 5.77 ERA and 1.65 WHIP for the year, and he was 2-9 within the first two months of the year. He’s not the only player on the Cardinals with a terrible record. Anthony Reyes, who started 0-8, is 2-14 on the year, and Maroth himself is 0-4 since joining the Cardinals. These pitchers have combined for a 8-35 record this season, meaning the Cardinals are 61-40 in games they didn’t record a decision. This shows how valuable Chris Carpenter is to this team. If he was pitching instead of Wells, the Cardinals would easily be winning the division.

Player of the Day: AJ Burnett, Blue Jays: 8 innings, 4 hits, 1 runs, 8 K’s in a 2-1 win over the Yankees. Burnett’s excellent start helped end the Yanks’ seven game winning streak.

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