Six weeks ago, Ozzie Guillen was asked by a local Minnesota writer if the Twins were the best team he had seen this season.
The White Sox manager quickly fired back a “no, because I know what you want me to say. But New York, Tampa … no.’’
On Thursday, Guillen was having a change of heart.
“The way [the Twins] play baseball, yes,’’ Guillen said. “I haven’t played against Tampa or New York for a little while, Texas. But the way they play right now, yes. Good baseball wins games, not good talent. They put everything together. They made a couple nice plays, they got the ugliest hits anybody can see. They’ve got six of the ugliest hits I’ve seen in a long time. We hit five balls right on the nose and they turned into double plays. There’s nothing you can do about it. That’s the way it is.’’
Guillen then brought up the fact that they have been without closer Joe Nathan all year long, while former American League MVP Justin Morneau has been on the shelf half the season with post-concussion problems.
Yet, a player like Danny Valencia, who played in the same conference as Guillen’s oldest son, Ozzie Jr., in high school, has come from nowhere to put together a monster year at third base.
“They go and get this kid Valencia,’’ Guillen said. “When you play against Ozzie Guillen Jr. in the same division in high school, you’re very horse[bleep] because Ozzie Guillen Jr. is not going to choose any good conference to play baseball. And this [Valencia] kid is a superstar [for the Twins]. The second baseman [Orlando Hudson] was looking for a job [in the winter]. The left fielder [Delmon Young] … A lot of people talk about other stuff, look at the left fielder, the year he’s had. All the pitchers. Those guys don’t have the names, but they pitch good.’’
Time for a break
Gordon Beckham told the Sun-Times on Wednesday that his injured right hand was still not cooperating, and there was a scenario being discussed where he would be shut down for the rest of the season once the Sox were mathematically eliminated from the race.
Guillen wasn’t about to wait that long.
Beckham was out of the starting lineup on Thursday, with Omar Vizquel starting at second and rookie Brent Morel getting the nod at third base.
“I don’t like the way he swings the bat,’’ Guillen said of his second-year player. “Obviously he wants to play, but I’ve seen this kid swing the bat for a year and a half and I know his hand is not even 80 percent. He’s wasting at-bats. He’s not 100 percent out there to try to help us and that’s why I shut it down for a couple of days to see how the treatment gets him back. The problem with that is you feel good one day then one swing it comes back again.’’