I always want the Minnesota Twins to win. If they can't, I allow myself to root for the White Sox on occasion. I know, I know, same division, how can you do that? Simple. Same reason I want the Vikings, then the Packers, to win. As long as it isn't the Bears or Cubs getting the headlines and the glory, I'm happy.
So, I'm conflicted a bit. Johan Santana shut down the Sox again yesterday, trimming Chicago's once huge lead over Cleveland by yet another game. I don't want to see the Sox collapse. I don't want to see Cleveland win the division. But yet I don't want to see the Twins just roll over and let Chicago whup 'em. So I was happy with Santana's dominating performance yesterday (he IS the best pitcher in baseball), but worried that the Sox are blowing it.
I'm enjoying the Sox season, and particularly enjoy what Ozzie Guillen has said and done. He said (about the Twins): "If we can't beat 'em with that old power-based game, we're going to play the way they play and try to beat 'em." That is what's known as respect, and a compliment.
In the previous years, Sox players and staff have not respected the Minnesota Twins, and it's gotten them their asses handed to them. The team has finally bought into what Ozzie is preaching, and look where they are this year. They've changed their game to mirror the Twins. Defense is better (still not as good as Minnesota) and they run more (Poscednik leads the AL in stolen bases...Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio are smiling). But the main reason the Sox have stayed out front this season is a new pitching philosophy: Throw strikes, pitch to contact.
Minnesota has been doing that for years. They pitch to contact, in other words put the ball in a place where the hitter will make contact, just not solidly. Let the defense make the play. Don't try to strike anyone out. And for pete's sake, do NOT walk anybody. That's how Minnesota has been winning. That's what the Sox have tried to do this year, and so far it's worked.
Twinsball. The way it should be played.