Sometimes a game comes along that makes you change what you think of a team. I’d say such a game typically involves a comeback of some sort, either by the team or its opponent. Last night, I think, was one of those games. All season I’ve basically been of the opinion that the Twins are a pretty good team, perhaps a 90 win team, and they just need to bide their time around .500 until they get hot and make a run to the playoffs. I kept waiting for it to happen, as June passed, and as July passes. After the happenings of last night, though, I’ve begun to think it’s just not going to happen. Not this year.
Everybody knows about the game. They know that Kubel swung like an MVP, and that Morneau had 7 RBI by the 2nd inning. That we were winning 12-2 in the 3rd. That a few bad plays by Punto and Morneau extended innings that led to the A’s scoring runs. That Blackburn turned into Blackburn of last year, and given a lead does everything he can to give it back. That we lost the lead on a grand slam backed up by a solo shot. That Cuddyer was safe at home but the game ended anyway. And that we lost, and that hearts were broken.
Maybe it was fatigue that shortened Punto’s arm, the reason he couldn’t get the ball across the diamond. Maybe Morneau was tired from the long, late flight, and from swinging so hard early in the game, and that was why he couldn’t snag those tough throws and why he missed that popup. Maybe Blackburn was tired, which is why his pitches had no movement and were basically batting practice, why he did everything he could to give back the lead.
Maybe Gardy was most tired of all. Maybe that’s why Duensing was warming up for three innings before he finally entered the game. Maybe that’s why Redmond batted and Mauer pinch hit for Casilla — and then entered the game as the catcher.* Maybe that’s why Keppel came in with the bases loaded — has he stranded an inherited runner all season? Was there any doubt those runs would score? The only surprise in my mind was that Keppel went on to give up 3 of his own.
* Seriously, the idea was to take both Redmond and Casilla out of the game. So you have the following options for who hits against a right handed reliever: Redmond/Mauer, Mauer/Buscher, Mauer/Crede. Tell me which one of these makes more sense. Okay, now take into account that Redmond promptly grounded into a double play, and that Mauer pinch hit with 2 outs and the bases empty. Which makes the most sense now? And another thing — once the double play happened, why not save Mauer for the 9th to hit instead of Punto? He’s not going to hit a game tying homer.
In the end, Cuddyer was called out at home, and we lost the game. Sure, he wasn’t actually out. Sure, it was a bad call. But it sure wasn’t the reason we lost the game. If anything, it was the umpire saying “You idiots deserve to lose this game.” And he was right.
“There was no doubt in my mind I was safe,” Cuddyer said.I’m pretty sure this is made funnier by the fact that Posnanski just wrote yesterday about how much he hates it when teams, managers, players, etc complain about bad breaks. About injuries, about bad calls, about the things that go against them. And about how it’s all bullshit, because that happens to everyone. You make your own breaks. Cuddyer defended himself last night, but Gardy was right on.
“Definitely, Cuddy was safe,” Gardenhire said. “There’s no doubt about that. A little bit of a bad call there … but we also shot ourselves in the foot.”
Gardy was right about something else, too.
“You don’t even know how to describe this game,” Gardenhire said, “because this stuff doesn’t happen very often.”No, it doesn’t happen very often. But when it does, you know you’re not a very good team. 4 comments