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Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Minnesota Twins: The Great Outdoors

Possibly the most horrifying Kirby Puckett statue ever erected.
Possibly the most horrifying Kirby Puckett statue ever erected.

The Rangers are heading to Minnesota to get their first look at Target Field and I, for one, am ecstatic about it. This means the Rangers never have to play in the Metrodome ever again. There were only two places I ever felt the Rangers would always seem to have a nightmare of a time trying to win in, The Kingdome and The Metrodome. Sure, the Rangers have probably lost more games at other venues, but with the Homerdome, if it wasn't a catchable ball lost in the lights, it was a cursed home run seemingly held back from escaping the dome's malevolent grasp.

Those huge deformed concrete shrines to Hades always felt like houses of horrors with lights like devilish eyes and sounds of echoing demonic voices humming a sinister song out of tune. All of this unpleasant sorcery would lead to to the Rangers having to struggle for every hollow victory. One more soul for one more run. I'd bet you couldn't even get a decent cheese curd in that monster coliseum.

The Twins now play baseball in the light of day in front of God and everyone. Though, does Target Field also have garbage bags instead of outfield walls? I can't believe that used to be a feature of a big league ballpark. In addition to that being different, Target Field also sounds classy as hell compared to Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Now let's just hope it will be a terrible place for the Twins to play at when the Rangers come to town.

Friday, May 28 7:10: RHP Colby Lewis vs. RHP Kevin Slowey

Saturday, May 29 3:10: LHP C.J. Wilson vs. RHP Carl Pavano

Sunday, May 30 7:05: LHP Derek Holland vs. RHP Scott Baker

I'm pretty sure the Twins starting rotation is comprised of one guy with a revolving array of fake facial hair tacked on with spirit gum and deception. In fact, in support of the probably-the-same-dude theory, the Twins pitcher(s) even follow the same pattern of stinginess. Of the three pitchers the Rangers will face this weekend, Pavano is 1st in all of baseball with a 5.13 K/BB rate, Scott Baker (3.77) is 11th, and Kevin Slowey (2.92) is 28th (And even Francisco Liriano gets in on the fun at 22nd best).

For comparison's sake, the first Rangers pitcher to make the K/BB rate list is Colby Lewis (2.44) at 44th place. The point is the Twins don't get beat by walking batters. They've allowed the fewest walks (106) as a team all season. The team closest to the Twins in fewest free passes, the Phillies, have allowed 18 more walks. Good luck with that walk rate, Elvis.

Nelson Cruz is having a once-in-a-career kind of season. If he can stay on the field, he has a chance at having one of the best seasons by a Texas Ranger ever. And yet, up to this point in the season, Justin Morneau has been like Nelson Cruz if Nelson Cruz were also Lou Gehrig. Let me rattle off some ridiculous Justin Morneau numbers:

  • 1st in baseball by over 6 runs in wRAA at 27.8
  • 1st in baseball in created runs by over 5 runs at 51.2
  • 1st in baseball in RAR by over 11 runs at 37.3
  • 1st in baseball in WAR by over a run at 3.8
  • 2nd in baseball in wOBA at .497
  • 2nd in baseball in OPS at 1.178

Basically, Justin Morneau has been so good, he's been worth the best player in baseball with an Ichiro Suzuki or Adrian Gonzalez left over. Simply amazing. If he were to play as well as he has so far for the rest of the year, he'd end up with the 27th best season ever based on OPS. Of course, his BABIP is currently at .431 so the odds of that happening are pretty slim, but regardless, Morneau has been ridiculous so far.


Minnesota Twins (27-20, 1st place AL Central)

Rangers' 2010 Record vs. Minnesota: N/A

Minnesota's Recent Results: 1-2 Series loss against the New York Yankees

SBN Twins' Blog: Twinkie Town

     Match-up: (as of 5/27)

























Overall RAR




Defense Runs Saved



Twins :(














Questions to Ponder:

  • Is anyone actually certain that they've seen Kevin Slowey before in their life? He's like the Delaware of people.
  • Over/Under: Will the Rangers draw 6 walks over the three game series?
  • Did you know: Nelson Cruz and Justin Morneau have a combined OPS of 2.322?
  • Did you know: Julio Borbon and Matt Treanor have a combined OPS of 1.091 (i.e. less than one Justin Morneau)?
  • Seriously though, what's a smelt fry?