Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Twins & Tigers Thrill Through Twelve

Good morning, Fackers. Did you see that game last night? If you didn't, you're probably already regretting it. It was one of the all-too-rare moments in sports in general and baseball in particular when a game with huge implications delivers huge drama. One of the few times that we can look at incredible over hyping that led up to the event after the fact and it actually seems less ridiculous. It would have been a great game had you stripped away the context of what was at stake.

With the spotlight pretty much all to themselves on a quiet Tuesday night in the world of sports, with their seasons on the line, the Twins and Tigers played like it. I hate do trot out the old boxing metaphors about "trading blows" and "having each other on the ropes" but there isn't really any other way to characterize the changes in momentum. The game even went 12 rounds innings.

We've been lucky with the last three play-in games. The Rockies and Padres came down to a play at the plate in '07, the White Sox and Twins last year turned on an 8th inning home run and ended on a great catch, but this year's version might have been the best of the trio.

I didn't "see" the game until the bottom of the 10th inning. I was doing some painting (housework, not art) and started with the Tigers' radio broadcast on WXYT with Dan Dickerson and Jim Price. Then I flipped over to the Minnesota guys to see if I liked it any better, but that was a terrible, terrible mistake. John "Gordo" Gordon has a laughable token radio voice and constantly places the emphasis on the wrong words. I'd say he's a cut-rate Jon Miller, but that would be giving him too much credit.

I stuck with the Detroit fellows until I had to run an errand and got the ESPN Radio team for the whole 9th and top of the 10th inning. I believe it was Gary Thorne and Dave Campbell and those guys were excellent. I finally got in front of the TV for the bottom of the 10th until the end and by then I wasn't paying attention to a word Chip Caray said.

There's nothing like some mindless labor and a good baseball game on the radio. If you're with around other people or the game isn't compelling, it's easy to lose track of what's going on. But when you are alone, applying coat upon coat of latex paint to a metal door, it's easy to get entranced in a hardball battle as good as the one last night.

After striking out one batter in each of his last three starts, twenty year-old Rick Porcello matched his season high in K's with 8, all swinging. Neyer surmised yesterday that he might have been a little tired down the stretch, so maybe the fact that he hadn't pitched in a week cured what ailed him. The kid should just be starting his junior year in college but instead he was starting a game with an MLB team's playoff chances in his hands, and did a pretty damn good job.

He pitched 5 2/3, and allowed two runs, one earned. However, the unearned run scored on Porcello's error - a botched pickoff throw to first in the third inning that could have been worse had it not his Twins first base coach Jerry White. He had nearly picked off Denard Span a few throws earlier but made the rookie mistake of not realizing that you usually only get one good chance to get someone snoozing with a big lead. The earned one came in the 6th when he allowed a solo homer to Jason Kubel.

In so far as it's okay to like a Boras bonus baby from another team, I think I like Rick Porcello. One more of these and I'm sold.

The villain in this game, aside from the Metrodome, was clearly Miguel Cabrera. The (wife) slugger was booed vociferously anytime he came to the plate or touched the ball. He responded in a big way though, with a double in the gap in his first at bat and a two run homer that temporarily put the Tigers ahead 3-0 and hushed the crowed in his second.

The hero was probably another man named Cabrera... Orlando. He hit a two run homer in the 7th inning that gave the Twins a one run lead and afterwards said it was the best game he ever played in.

In the top of the 9th, the Tigers looked to be set up with runners on 1st and 3rd with no one out but Joe Nathan struck out Placido Polanco looking and then got Magglio Ordonez to line out into a double play to short.

Brandon Inge had a double and an RBI, but also a diving, game-saving catch in the 9th on a bounce that almost certainly would have scored the winning run. I just listened to the highlight on and in typical Chip Caray fashion he declared that the play saved a run but didn't acknowledge that said run would have ended the game, since the score was tied at 4-4 and it was the bottom of the 9th. Get ready!

Ryan Rayburn was very nearly the goat after he badly misplayed a single into a triple, putting what proved to be the tying run on third with no one out. He partially redeemed himself by catching a line out by Nick Punto and gunning down Alexi Casilla at home plate to end the inning. The speedy Casilla blundered by tagging up a moment too late, and was tagged out by Gerald Laird by the slimmest of margins.

Casilla got some redemption of his own in the bottom of the 12th when he lined a one out single to right field to drive in Carlos Gomez from third and send the Twins to New York.

Get some rest, Twinkies. Don't stay up too late savoring your thrilling victory. Wouldn't want you to be all tired for the game tomorrow...


  1. The momentum is on the side of the Twins now. They don't need a day to rest. They are amped up and ready to smash the Bronx Bozos. Thanks for giving the Sox another day to get ready. Twins over Yanks in 4.

  2. Yeah, you know what they say about momentum and starting pitchers... Have you even heard of Brian Duensing, you fucking dunce?

    Have fun watching your captial C Captian ride the bench against the Angels, lest they trample him to death with stolen bases.

  3. Really? Four games? Good call anon.

  4. Ahh, good to see the return of the Anonymous hater. Things were getting too dull in Yankee-land without that miscreant infesting FY with that trademark mordant wit...

  5. If you can call it "wit"... The problem is that he usually fails pretty miserably in being funny, otherwise I wouldn't really mind.

  6. That was just part of my trademark sarcasm, Jay.

  7. Hahah, my bad, Jason. I lost it in the interwebz.