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Here come the Twins

Minnesota makes charge as White Sox stumble

Posted: Monday July 24, 2006 1:56PM; Updated: Monday July 24, 2006 11:44PM
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1 1 A series win in their midweek showdown with the ChiSox should have proven something to those who still doubt the Tigers. And if that didn't do it, how about a 112-win pace? No losing streaks longer than four games? The best road record in the biz? Dmitri Young back in the lineup? Aww, forget it, then. Trade tease: Alfonso Soriano headed to Motown?
2 2 Ozzie Guillen is slam-dunking water bottles. The wild-card lead has dimmed to 2 1/2 games. Heck, Jon Garland can't hit the broad side of a Texas Ranger. If the Series champs aren't cracking, they're at least bending. "It seems like everyone's feeling sorry for themselves," Guillen said. Trade tease: With Sandy Alomar in, is a good pen piece next?
3 3 Right-hander Josh Beckett signed a $30 million, three-year extension this week, which works out to ... lemme see ... if he does this every season for the three years of his new contract ... well, about $333,333 for every home run he's going to allow through 2009. A bargain in anybody's book. Trade tease: Is Wily Mo Pena really back on the block?
4 5 Pedro Martinez is tentatively due to return Friday -- meaning that if he has even a slight notion that he may have a tiny sniffle coming on, he's out -- against the Braves. Meanwhile, the highest-scoring team in the NL rolls on despite a near terminal case of boredom. Trade tease: Foolish as they seem, the Barry Zito-to-New York rumors won't die.
5 4 Stoic skipper Joe Torre called a meeting before Saturday's game against the Jays, a kind of pick-me-up for a scuffling team. "He just wanted to make sure we weren't getting sloppy," Jason Giambi said. Suddenly stone-handed Alex Rodriguez, it was rumored, was in the john at the time. Trade tease: Bobby Abreu and his contract, or Soriano?
6 7 If the Cards played the Dodgers every week, they'd be the Tigers. On Sunday, L.A. skipper Grady Little walked Albert Pujols intentionally with first base occupied, loading the bases for Scott Rolen -- who is hitting .326 with 14 homers and 63 RBIs. Rolen singled, driving in two runs. L.A., of course, lost. Trade tease: A little pitching depth wouldn't hurt.
7 8 The week of reckoning is upon the torrid Twins, who have worked their way into wild-card contention (three out in the loss column). They have six games against the White Sox and Tigers this week. A good showing against the Central tough guys and GM Terry Ryan might become a buyer. Trade tease: Kyle Lohse on the move for a healthy outfielder?
8 6 Those Sabermetric slicksters: Shea Hillenbrand's ouster proved to be a classic case of addition by subtraction. The Jays won three of four against the previously good-streaking Yanks after the booting of their unhappy bench-rider. And you can bet GM J.P. Ricciardi isn't sitting still now. Trade tease: A lot of smoke rising about Devil Rays shortstop Julio Lugo.
9 10 No matter what bold moves the Reds make, they're still the Reds. Case in point: Each team had to nominate five players for a "Hometown Heroes" promotion. One of the five the Reds picked: Pete Rose. Of course. A confessed bettor, banned from baseball ... but still No. 1 in blindly loyal Cincy. Trade tease: If GM Wayne Krivsky can get an arm, he will.
10 9 If this isn't a sign that the AL West leaders are wobbling, nothing is: In his past 20 games, with a week or so off to rest his aching forearms, third baseman Eric Chavez is hitting .122 with one homer. And one RBI. The pitching is there, but without someone to carry the offensive load, a fall is inevitable. Trade tease: Can they win without Zito?