Twenty-four hours from now you'll know who's going to the playoffs from the AL Central. Until then, five questions that arose from the Twins two straight victories over the Sox in the Dome.
1. Why was Dewayne Wise leading off? Based on his recent play, Wise deserves to be in the line up just about every day, especially when you consider the lack of alternatives. But lead off? Orlando Cabrera, who's been an odd fit for the spot all season, is batting .353 with a .409 OBP this month, out-producing every regular on the team. Why was last night, the 157th game of the season, the time to move him out of the first spot?
So of course Wise strands 6 runners on base in situations Cabrera excels, and the one time Wise does reach base he is quickly erased on a double play ground out. By Cabrera. It's like a three-card poker player who keeps losing on the "pair plus" bet and then the moment he doesn't play it, hits a straight flush. (But if you try to start that bet again on the next hand, of course you'll be dealt a 2-5-8 rainbow.)
No one has ever accused Ozzie Guillen of panicking, so this wasn't a panic move. I guess it was just a very, very unfortunate time to try a new batting order.
2. Where the heck is Jermaine Dye? It was only one month ago when JD was a legitimate MVP candidate, but he's picked a very unfortunate time to go into a slump. Maybe he just misses the presence of Carlos Quentin, but Dye hasn't hit one over the fence since August 27 and is 0-for-8 in this series. If anyone should be temporarily dropped in the order, or given a few days off, it's Dye.
3. Aren't hanging breaking balls supposed to be crushed? The answer to this one is easy: yes. But for some reason, the Sox hitters are acting like they've never seen a curveball or slider in their lives. We're not talking about good, "Nintendo" breaking balls here; we're talking about hanging, rolling, get-me-over, right-down-the-heart-of-the-plate pitches that the Sox are not able to square up. It's baffling.
4. Do the Sox players have ceilings and carpet in their homes? Considering their salaries, they probably have several of each, yet they don't seem to be comfortable with them outside of home. The Sox are now 4-15 this season in domes.
5. Fight piranhas with a piranha? It's not time to panic, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Thus, Sox Machine's Jim Margalus offers us this solution: call up ex-Twin, life-long piranha and current Sox minor leaguer Jason Tyner. He was Nick Punto before there was Nick Punto. So why not? As Jim says, he can bunt, chop bouncers on the carpet, run fast and, in a pinch, be used as a baseball bat. Hey, I could think of worse things.
Whoever wins tonight's game wins the AL Central. So it's time to pull out all the stops.