signs point to 87: twins to go 87-75
87. that's the number that slowly emerged magic 8-ball style from the bluish gunk of my consciousness on my long saturday run. i'm no gambler, but i love making predictions. i see 87 wins for my twins this year, which should keep them in the wild-card race all summer.
i can't imagine that anyone wants my opinion on baseball, but i should probably present a little evidence for the assertion. my optimism is based on starting pitching: slow-starter santana looks to be in fine form already, silva and radke are inning-eaters with winning records, lohse went 5-0 this spring, and the rookie baker looks like radke junior. if any falter, young phenom liriano is ready to bring his 96-mph fastball and knee-buckling change to the rotation as well. for now, he'll be the power lefty in the bullpen, a nice complement to hard-throwing righties such as nathan, crain, and rincon.
as for the new acquisitions, luis castillo is a very nice second baseman. the rest are rookies or small-market dudes from the cut-out bin: rondell white is a good clubhouse guy who can still hit some; rookie right fielder jason kubel might be raking by midseason; and, well, watching tony batista at the plate induces the sort of brainfreeze normally associated with eating ice cream too quickly -- i'll just look away and trust gm terry ryan on this one. torii hunter and shannon stewart are smooth all-around professionals in the outfield. catcher joe "baby jesus" mauer is a joy to watch (sweet swing, great on the bases, letter-perfect behind the plate) and justin morneau will provide some power on first. i'm nervous about the lack of range and political instability of the castro-batista side of the infield, but both can catch it and throw it.
the division has improved this year (even detroit!), so it is tough to know where the twins will finish. i'm hoping that the chicagos and clevelands will thrash one another, the tigers will still be a couple years away, and the royals will be the royals. if not, the "87" i see so clearly and distinctly might indicate losses rather than wins.
while i'm diversioning on baseball, i've got to mention the idiots write about sports post on free etranslators. if you take the team name (e.g., minnesota twins), translate it to spanish (gemelos), then back to english, you get the minnesota binoculars. i'm not sure why anyone would find this amusing, but i did. it seems the translators had the greatest difficulty with idiomatic monikers such as arizona diamondbacks, florida marlins, and texas rangers. here are a few highlights from the comments section:
english->chinese->english yields the following:
Arizona Water Chestnut Grain Back Sidewinders
Boston Red Sulfides/Chicago White Sulfides
Florida Thin Ropes
Los Angeles Deceits
Milwaukee Brewing Alcohols
St. Louis Bishops
english->korean->english evidently gives us:
Arizona Animals Which Are Diamond Pattern
Florida Chung Prematurely Gray Hairs
Texas Patrolling Guard Unit
Tampa Bay Place Pulleys
wanting to pitch in and do my part for, ummm, science, i dove into the tricky english->norsk->engelsk fray. i used intertran to translate each of the major league ballclubs into norwegian and back to english. here are some of the more interesting norwegian translations:
Kansas Later Regal
anything can happen over the long season and 2006 is fraught with questions. will the Red Sulfides flourish, now that they've locked up big papi? could the Pickle or the Circumference challenge oakland in the competitive american league west? in the national league, i'm looking for the Horror (...the Horror!) to improve this year, perhaps fighting the Animals Which Are Diamond Pattern for a wild-card slot. but who will win it all in october? my dream series involves the 87-win Binoculars taking the young Brewing Alcohols in a seven-game fall classic.