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Hope Springs Eternal . . . and the 2014 Twins.

It’s opening day! The much maligned Minnesota Twins are in Chicago to play their rival White Sox and most lauded baseball pundits are predicting another dismal campaign. With me, however, hope springs eternal. I wish, on this 31st day of March (2014), to make my own–and far more optimistic–prognostication. After three horrible seasons and not too many personnel upgrades, I can see light at the end of the tunnel . . . let me explain myself. First our opening day line-up and presumed batting order:
Brian Dozier-2base
Kurt Suzuki-catcher
Joe Mauer-1base
Josh Willingham-LF
Jason Kubel-DH
Trevor Plouffe-3base
Oswaldo Arcia-RF
Aaron Hicks-CF
Eduardo Escobar-SS
Not too intimidating for Chris Sale the Sox ace lefty. It will be chilly in the Windy City–if they can play at all today. Anyhow, I won’t despair if the Twins drop this game and probably eighty more. I predict an 81 win season–that’s .500 baseball in a competitive division. Here’s why . . .
Mauer will his over .300 again and show more power than last year.
Willingham (healthy now) will come close to his epic 2012 season–27 HR’s
Suzuki will yield to Josmil Pinto enough to get power from behind the plate–more so than Doumit provided.
Kubel . . . I can only hope.
Now the ‘ify’ stuff. Hicks will move up the order and have the break-out season we all expected last year. Both average and power numbers will be greatly improved.
Arcia will duplicate Hicks’ numbers and lead the team in RBI’s
Plouffe will hold down third with improved defense and 20-plus HR’s
Now the improved starting pitching staff. Ricky Nolasco (our 47-million-dollar man) will earn his large $ contract and win 14, Phil Hughes (former Yankee) will thrive in Target Field’s huge pastures and win an additional 14, Mike Pelfry will win 12 and keep his team in most games, Kevin Correia will be solid and give us over 200 innings . . . then our number five starter . . . Kyle Gibson will have a 16 win season and an ERA in the mid-3’s. And, add to that, we’ve got Sam Deduno in the bullpen this year and ready to fill-in at any time . . . along with some pretty good supporting arms for relief roles and Glen Perkins to closeout nearly 50 wins. Late in the season we will get a taste of Byron Buxton and Alex Meyer . . . two big pieces of the franchise’s future. Miguel Sano will be on board next year.
So, that’s it!
On another page, I’m flourishing in Florida. My next novel (working title: ‘The Last Moran’) is coming along nicely–I think. My grandson, Jack, is having a good baseball season with his school’s JV team and his sister, Grace Ann, what a delight! She will have her first birthday on 4/17. My friend, Dick Nierengarten from Minneapolis, has been down here in Naples since the first of March and will be heading back to Minnesota about the same time I will be–end of this month. Next week the two of are taking a one-day cruise to Key West. And,our Gophers are in the NIT ‘Final Four’ . . . life is truly good, even great! I hope all of you (despite the snow shoveling and subzero’s) are prospering as well. Until my next posting, God Bless . . .
PS: As I read all the positives I’d written about the Twins . . . I’ve upgraded their season to 82 wins.

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