Morneau Out, Twins Too?: Tuesday morning brought with it a big blow to the Minnesota Twins as first baseman Justin Morneau appears to be out for the season with a stress fracture in his lower back.
Morneau had apparently been playing with back pain for some time. However, an MRI yesterday revealed the fracture, effectively ending the 2008 Home Run Derby Champion's season. Morneau finishes his 2009 campaign with a .274 batting average, 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in, and a .363 on-base percentage in 135 games played.
This may put an end to any hope that Minnesota had of making the playoffs. Losing their clean-up hitter leaves MVP candidate Joe Mauer, who will now receive little protection batting in the third spot of the order, as the only notable Minnesota slugger.
While other Twins bats such as Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel are fine ball players, they still will not be able to make up for the loss of Morneau's production, nor do the Twins have the pitching to carry a diminished offense. At 5 1/2 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central, and 13 games out for the Wild Card, the situation is not looking great out in Minneapolis.
Game(s) of Interest: The Boston Red Sox will be hosting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim up in Fenway Park tonight through Thursday, with the first pitch slated to be at 7:10 this evening. Check it out, as these two have played each other in the American League Division Series three times over the past five seasons (with the Red Sox winning all three times). If all stays the same in the American League, they will face off yet again this October. Consider tonight's game a pretty legitimate playoff preview. The Angels will send ace John Lackey (10-7) to the mound, while the Red Sox will counter with the struggling Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5).
Over in San Francisco, the Rockies and Giants will be playing game two of their three game series. The Rockies now lead the National League Wild Card by 3 1/2 games over the Giants after last night's loss. Two wins by the Giants over the next two nights could make things very interesting as this race has remained tight down the season's homestretch. Umbaldo Jimenez (13-10) and Barry Zito (9-12) will go to the mound for Colorado and San Francisco, respectively.