MINNEAPOLIS – Ozzie Guillen is never afraid to speak his mind, so asked on Wednesday if the Sox do turn this around, is their best good enough to chase down the Twins’ best when it’s all said and done, he pulled no punches.
“I don’t know about that,” Guillen answered. “Man by man, I don’t know. They’re playing better than us, yes. But man by man, I don’t know. Right now they are. They’re in first place. I don’t think man-by-man … we got a pretty good club.”
As Guillen is very well aware of, so do the Twins.
“They’re a better team than people think,” Guillen said. “Way better team. They got so many bullets to get you. I think their pitching staff, their starters hold on, they’re going to be a tough team to beat. Great defense. Good speed, their pitchers throw strikes.
“They have the best two hitters you’re going to see [in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau]. I don’t want to say the best in the past 10 years because of Manny [Ramirez] and Papi [David Ortiz in their Boston days], but I’d rather pitch to Papi and those guys in their prime than pitch to those two kids.
“People forgot about [Jason] Kubel, [Michael] Cuddyer, [Delmon] Young. Just because they wear Minnesota Twins uniform, but they’re good. You got to admit it. They play well so many different ways. They put the ball in play, they execute well. What more can you ask of a team to play like that? That’s the reason every year they’re in the pennant race. When they’re not there, they’re fighting. Maybe I’m crazy or I look at it different way, but those guys are good.”
For the Sox to even be in the same conversation as the Twins, however, they first need to be playing their best.
That starts with the offense, where two runs on six hits like on Wednesday, just wasn’t going to get it done.
Hitting coach Greg Walker has been in the crosshairs for many Sox fans over the years, and while the numbers through the first six weeks of this season seemingly hasn’t changed that opinion, Walker chooses to look at things a little differently.
“Here we sit and there are some ugly numbers out there, but everyone continues to dwell on the batting average,” Walker said. “Last time I checked, they don’t decide games on how many hits you get. It’s how many runs you get. We have scored some runs. It’s just different than what everyone expected and how everyone expected us to do it. They thought we would do that more with small ball.”
As far as Walker was concerned, flexing some muscle so far this season is a good thing.
“As a hitting coach, you step back and look at the body of work,” Walker continued. “But overall we’ve done some good things, some neat things, that trend itself to be a really good offensive team. Nobody thought we would hit with power. We are hitting with power. The only thing we haven’t done is we haven’t got enough singles.
“We are working on that. … The way I would put it is coming into this year, we had a lot of questions about offense and some have been answered. Some are still out there, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I don’t look at it so much as where we are at. I look at the potential we’ve got. You’ve never heard me one time say this team is not talented enough to be good.”
What remains to be seen, however, is will good be good enough?