Today's game is the start of the final series of the year for the Twins, taking place at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox are still two wins or two Yankee losses away from clinching the division, so the Twins have the chance to deal them a blow if they win at least three games. I admit, however, that the Twins taking three of four from the Red Sox is not a likely scenario. This is especially true for today's game, with Boof Bonser (7-12, 5.09) pitching opposite Cy Young favorite Josh Beckett (20-6, 3.14). Bonser is taking the place of Scott Baker, who is not pitching due to a combination of a sore hand from being hit with a line drive and his son's illness. Obviously, Bonser has struggled of late, as he has been removed from the rotation.
Not mentioned in yesterday's entry was the fact that Johan Santana's start may have been his last as a Twin. Since I would be very upset, perhaps devastated, if he was not back next year (and, in truth, the year after), I am not going to discuss the various possibilities for his future right now. Rather, something that was noted yesterday was his opportunity to lead the majors in strikeouts after Jake Peavy's one-strikeout performance. Scott Kazmir will take the mound against the Yankees today, just six strikeouts behind Santana. I know individual achievements are not something players will focus on, but it is something I am very willing to put the spotlight on. If Santana is able to hold on to the strikeout crown, it will be one positive all his fans will be able to take from an otherwise (relatively) sub-par season. Unfortunately, six is not a big number. Kazmir has had at least six strikeouts in twelve of his last fourteen starts, and at least seven in eleven of those starts. Then again, Peavy had had more than two strikeouts in every start this season, and did not manage to pick up multiple Ks yesterday.