Sunday, June 29, 2008

Twins tops interleague play

Minnesota's 6-0 win Sunday over the Milwaukee Brewers completes interleague play for the 2008 season.

The Twins finished with a 14-4 mark over National League opponents this season and improved to 120-90 overall. They joined the Oakland A's and the New York Yankees as the only three AL clubs with at least 120 interleague victories.

Manager Ron Gardenhire says his Twins don't have the big boppers that the Yankees or Boston have so his team aren't that overly affected when Minnesota plays in National League parks, where the designated hitter rule isn't used.

After Sunday's win, the manager offered the following explanation: "I don't have any theories on it. We don't have a team with a huge DH, so when we go into a National League park, we are not losing a player like (Boston's) David Ortiz.

"When we come home, (NL opponents) aren't really National League teams when they come in here because they have to use the DH," notes Gardenhire.

Later, "I don't know if you can put your finger on it," he says of the Twins' annual interleague success. "We actually have grind it out for runs -- we don't have big 3-4-5 (hitters), so it bodes well (against NL teams)."

Now with interleague play over, it's back to the AL Central -- Detroit will be in town for a three-game series.

"They are playing well again," Gardenhire says of the Tigers. "It will be a big series and a lot of fun," he concludes.


As some players, such as the Twins' Craig Monroe, have trouble adjusting from being an everyday player to the DH role, Jason Kubel seemingly has settled in it quite well:

"I think for Kubel, it is not that so much he prefers DH (but that) it just doesn't bother him," explains Gardenhire. "His mindset can handle it."

However, Kubel, who's hitting over .600 during this home stand, is not unlike any other player -- he wants to play everyday. But more importantly, "He loves to hit and loves to swing (the bat)," adds the manager. And the DH gets at least four times at bat -- every day.

No comments: