Tonight, the Twins send Kevin Slowey (4-0 4.57) to the mound in game two of their series at Fenway Park. The magic number for the Red Sox remains at 2 after the Yankees' win last night, and tonight Daisuke Matsuzaka (14-12 4.48) hopes to earn them a division title with a win and Yankees' loss to the Orioles. I'm not sure if it seems this way to everyone, but I feel like all the "experts" on ESPN and the other baseball shows talk about Daisuke Matsuzaka as if he should win the Cy Young. This is his rookie year, and his stats are only around league average: 4.48 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and a 14-12 record. Now, I don't necessarily dislike Daisuke, I just don't understand why the media acts like he is such a great pitcher; maybe it's because of the mysterious gyroball pitch which he may or may not throw. Nonetheless, Matsuzaka has clearly struggled mightily over his last 7 starts, going 1-4 with a 7.68 ERA and 42 hits allowed in 38 2/3 innnings. His control has been especially suspect, as has walked 22 batters over this span, which equates to 5.12 BB/9 and only a 1.55 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Before this span, his K/BB ratio was 2.84 and he was walking only 3.19 per 9 innings. He has allowed at least 5 earned runs in 5 of the 7 starts, including a start against Baltimore in which he didn't even make it out of the 3rd inning (a game which I watched in person from the extreme nosebleed seats). I bring up all these stats only to show that Daisuke is a good, not great, pitcher who has struggled lately, and therefore that the Twins definitely have a chance to get to him tonight. On the other hand, the Twins have struggled against pitchers like Horacio Ramirez, so you never know what their offense will do.
Also, the offseason buzz has officially started, with an article in the Star Tribune mentioning that the Twins have some interest in making an attempt to sign Barry Bonds. There will be plenty of time to discuss the offseason starting Monday, so I won't go into much detail at this point, but my first impression of this is that, though I hate Bonds as much as the next person, this idea is interesting and intriguing, if only as a symbol of the willingness of the Twins' organization to actually spend some money this offseason.