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Twins among MLB’s surprise teams

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By Larry Fitzgerald
July 13, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

An old cliché that has stood the test of time is “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” With this in mind, look at the two best teams in baseball as we have reached the mid-summer classic.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are on fire with the best record in the big leagues, 61-29, winners of 26 of their last 30 games. Pitching ace Clayton Kershaw is 14-2 — that’s tops in MLB.

Rookie sensation Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees with 30 home runs is the talk of baseball. The slugger has hit several long home runs. For a franchise with a history of legendary sluggers, the buzz has many dreaming and comparing him already with the past greatness of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle.

Houston has the best record in the American League, 60-29, with a 16-game lead in the AL West. The Dodgers are 39-11 at home and are +163 in runs scored. The Astros are +162 and 33-11 on the road. Both the Dodgers and Astros are clearly playoff-bound.

The 2017 All-Star Game is in Miami, Florida. The 45-43 Twins are two and half back of Cleveland in the AL Central and have three All-Stars this year. Third baseman Miguel Sano has carried this team; he leads the team with 21 home runs and 61 RBI.

Ervin Santana, 10-6, has been lights out, the ace of the staff. His ERA is 2.99 and he leads the Majors with four complete games. Closer Brandon Kintzler has 22 saves, among the best in baseball. Joe Mauer leads the team with seven game-winning RBI. His back has flared up on him, and he is currently on the disabled list.

With 30 teams in MLB and only 12 of those having winning records, the fight for the playoffs will be the story of the season’s second half.

I would like to see some of the teams that were expected to be in the playoffs play better, like the Chicago Cubs, who won 103 games last year and the World Series. So far they have been a major disappointment, 5½ games back of Milwaukee in the National League Central.

We have a long way yet to go, and I pointed out, it’s not always how you start but how you finish. However, some teams have dug some deep holes to climb out of in the second half. Just five teams in the National League have winning records. The Cardinals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Texas and Baltimore have not played consistently this year.

The Twins will have a chance to stay in the race in the second half; however, they need Mauer back healthy.

Pitching and defense have carried them so far. Young Jose Berrios is 8-2 and looking good. He and Santana give the Twins a solid one-two punch at the top of their starting rotation.

 

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Peyton Manning can golf with President Trump if he wants and other sports stars can criticize the POTUS if they want

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By Eric Nelson
June 7, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the North Star State...

•Playing Politics:NFL legend Peyton Manning is taking heat for golfing with President Donald Trump recently in Virginia. Many Manning fans are upset that he associated himself with a divisive guy like Trump. I am not a Trump fan and believe he has polarized the USA by sewing the seeds of hate. But, Manning did nothing wrong and does not deserve venom from the left just because he golfed with the POTUS…

•Two-way Street: Manning, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Bobby Knight and others can align themselves with Trump if they want. It’s their prerogative. Of course, it’s okay for LeBron James, Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and others to criticize Trump if they want. It is their prerogative too and they don’t deserve criticism from the right…

•Just Asking: What will happen first?… The Golden State Warriors losing a playoff game or Colin Kaepernick getting an NFL job…

•Kevin Can’t Wait: When it comes to chasing NBA championship rings superstars named Kevin have had plenty of success. First it was Kevin Garnett going from Minnesota to Boston and winning a title. Then it was the Timberwolves peddling Kevin Love to Cleveland where he won a championship. Now it looks like Kevin Durant will find Kevin heaven with Golden State after leaving Oklahoma City for Oakland…

•Rod’s Return: Minnesota Twins legend Rod Carew and his wife Rhonda return to Target Field on July 3 for the LA Angels-Minnesota game. It will be the Carew’s first trip to the Twin Cities since Rod had a heart transplant on December 16, 2016. The Carew’s will also be in Minneapolis on August 18 for Twins Hall of Fame Weekend and Donor Day against Arizona…

•Flashbacks: The Twins will salute Carew by remembering the 40th Anniversary of his magical 1977 MVP year when he batted .388, and the 50th Anniversary of his 1967 AL Rookie of the Year season…

•Party-Time: The Twins host their first-ever MLB Draft Party at Target Field on Monday. Gates open at 5:30 pm and Minnesota has the number one pick in the draft for the third time in club history. The last time the Twins had the top pick was 2001 when they chose Joe Mauer. Minnesota plays Seattle that night at 7:10 pm…

•Domination: The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are running away with their respective divisions. The Astros (42-17) lead the LA Angels and Seattle by 13 games in the AL West, and the Nationals (37-20) have a 12 1/2 game cushion over Atlanta and the NY Mets in the NL East…

•Title Starved: Btw, Houston and Washington have never won a World Series, so there is a chance that another baseball championship drought ends this season…

•Bar Brawl: According to USA Today Rex and Rob Ryan were involved in a bar fight in Nashville on Saturday. Too bad Rex Ryan’s Buffalo teams did not have that much fight when he was coaching the Bills…

•Puck Power: The NHL is on a roll as Nashville and Pittsburgh cap off a wonderful post season in the Stanley Cup Final. Hockey is also getting an assist from NBA icon Charles Barkley, who has been gushing about the sport. Barkley’s pro-hockey stance is definitely good for the game…

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Podcast

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Gameday Gold Radio – August 10, 2017 – s.4

A Title-Series Collision Course?

Segment 4: The Dodgers and Astros are running away with the best records in their respective leagues.  But will they meet in the World Series?  Eric and Larry discuss any other contenders that could derail the potential showdown.  They also look into the participation decline in golf after yet another Minneapolis city course announces it will (at least partially) close.

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Gameday Gold Radio – July 21, 2017 – s.1

We’re hitting the peak of Summer, meaning all kinds of sports discussion is out there to be had.  Eric and Larry grab hold of some of it and deliver it to us from the Downtown Minneapolis studio.  The Twins are remembering a glorious past, while trying to make something of the future.  GDG’s Tom Tuttle talks with the guys from the Thursday night event honoring the 1987 World Series Champs.  Everyone also has their take on the current version of the team.  The Vikings will close a chapter in their history over the next few weeks.  Plus, the guys dig into the Lynx, the Wolves, the red-hot L.A. Dodgers, and many other items around the world of sports.

A Winning Attitude…From Development to Execution

Segment 1: It’s the heat of Summer, but nothing seems to be hotter than the headlines in the NBA.  The guys look ahead to what the Wolves can expect from the new-look roster and digs this Fall.  Could there be a connection between hosting a Super Bowl and potentially hosting a World Series months later?  And the Lynx continue to pile up the wins.

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Gameday Gold Radio – June 23, 2017 – s.5

Seattle Sensation: Dave Sims Chats with GDG
Segment 5: Dave Sims has one of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting.  He was in town this week as the Mariners visited the Twins.  He sat down with Larry to talk about the effort to get more African-Americans into the sports. Plus, what’s it like seeing one of the best MLB teams in the Houston Astros?