1 Game, 1 Win, 1 Game Back

29 Sep

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The weather cooperated, and the Twins and Tigers got in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader. It took a little extra time, but the Twins got a 3-2 win in 10 innings of what was a very entertaining game. Here are some of the things I jotted down while playing hooky and watching the game with The Twins Geek and The Voice of Reason at The Big 10 in Hopkins:

  • Nick Blackburn was very hittable in the early innings, but he gave up just one run as the Tigers left a ton of runners on base. Once he got through the early innings, he was excellent in the middle innings, getting all 12 batters he faced in the fourth through seventh innings. In seven innings, he gave up one run on six hits and a walk. Very solid, professional start.
  • Jose Mijares got the two batters out that he faced. Jon Rauch got four outs (and another win). Am I the only one who is tired of his whining about pitches being called balls? His demonstrative disagreement with the home plate ump in each of his past two appearances is pathetic. I hope that Gardy or someone talks to him about that. That is certainly not going to get him any calls.
  • I’ll mention it because it’s obviously a big story from the game. Bert Blyleven referred to the suicide squeeze play as “the element of surprise.” Well, was there really any surprise? No. I was sitting in a room and I overhead at several other tables that the squeeze was coming. It was incredibly obvious. And Roy Smalley, after the game, said that Brandon Lyon just threw a bad pitch. No, he didn’t, Punto gave it away a little bit too soon, and Lyon likely saw Alexi Casilla take off from third. A pitcher is taught to throw the ball high and tight, which he did. Punto had to bunt at the ball to try to protect Casilla, and that pitch, which was over Punto’s eyes, is impossible to hit downward.
  • The rest of the sacrifice bunts, I had no problem with. I am no fan of the sacrifice bunt, at all. However, when Matt Tolbert is advancing a runner with a bunt, I am fine. When Carlos Gomez sacrificed two runners over, I completely agreed with that. I agree that often a sacrifice bunt can eliminate a big inning, and I too would prefer to get five runs than one run, in those situations, the team needed one run, and then one extra run. And, I thought they were justified in the late innings.
  • When Carlos Gomez pinch ran for Jason Kubel in the top of the 8th, I wondered about a scenario in which the game would go extra innings and Gomez would have to bat instead of Kubel (who was 2-4 on the day). However, that was the right situation, hoping for a double that Gomez would be able to score on. However, it proved to be a terrific decision in the bottom of the ninth when Denard Span, now in RF, was able to track down a line drive off of the bat of Ramon Santiago. Simply put, Jason Kubel doesn’t make that play.
  • It was great to see Alexi Casilla line that double over the head of left-fielder Carlos Guillen’s head in that ninth inning. He had pinch run earlier for Jose Morales.
  • Like Brett Favre on Sunday, Orlando Cabrera had his “That’s why we got him” moment with his go-ahead single in the top of the 10th.
  • The Tigers first run came on a single by Santiago off the glove of 1B Michael Cuddyer. It was almost an inning-ending double play. Cuddyer had the ball, but his 1B mitt bent back at the end and the ball bounced out. Later, Cuddyer made a great play on a bouncer, throwing to home to cut off a would-be Tigers run. I have been immensely impressed with Cuddyer’s defense at 1B.
  • And yes, I did call the Curtis Granderson home run to lead off the bottom of the 10th off of Joe Nathan. But Nathan did record his 45th save, which is a Twins single-season record.
  • Now the team’s will wait a bit before the second game of the double header starts at 6:05 central time.

SethSpeaks.net NIGHTLY Minnesota Twins podcast

  • Even with the rainout, we held last night’s Twins Podcast. Nick Nelson (Nick’s Twins Blog) joined me as the co-host for the show. We talked about the Tigers/Twins series, the pitching matchups, and what the rain could mean for tomorrow. We were also joined by Shaun Hagglund who is the man behind JustinMorneau.com, JoeNathan.com and more! See below for a big event. We got a phone call with several questions, and it was just a very fun show, so hopefully you enjoy it. 
  • Be sure to tune in to tonight’s live podcast at 10:00 central time! First, hopefully there will be two Twins wins (or at least two Twins games) to talk about. But I will also be posing a trivia question regarding something in the Twins system at the beginning of the show. I will then take your calls. The first one with the right answer will win two Twins rookie cards autographed. So, check out the show and see if you can win a prize!

The J&J Fan Jam!

Shaun Hagglund came on and also talked about a big event on Wednesday night at Champps in Richfield presented by JustinMorneau.com and JoeNathan.com. Be sure to check out those blogs for the details, but it is a (primarily) free event, and there are a ton of activities that they have planned. Obviously Morneau and Nathan are a little busy in Detroit, but it will be a fun opportunity for a bunch of Twins fans to get together, watch some baseball, and more. So, if you’re able, check out www.JustinMorneau.com or www.JoeNathan.com for more details.


3 Responses to “1 Game, 1 Win, 1 Game Back”

  1. Dome Dog September 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    Not sure if I agree with your take on the suicide squeeze Seth (although I do think I would have let Punto swing away there). I watched the highlights on the Twins website after the game, and they show a shot of Casilla leading off of 3rd while Lyon starts his motion home. It appears that Casilla didn’t break until after Lyon started pushing off to throw home…so I don’t think Casilla gave it away. Leyland didn’t “outcoach” Gardy either, as it did not appear Detroit had any play on to catch the Twins attempting a squeeze. The catcher looked like his glove was set up low in the zone. So it seemed like either A)Punto gave it away a little too early and Lyon made a tremendously quick adjustment to throw that pitch up and in or B) Lyon just made a poor pitch that happened to be in the perfect spot to make the squeeze difficult to execute.

    Thanks for pointing out the domino effect of Gomez pinch running for Kubel and how it saved the game for the Twins with Span being pushed to right field. Also, a little bit jealous that you played hooky today and I did not 🙂

  2. Seth September 29, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    I never said Leyland outcouched Gardy. It’s common baseball/pitcher knowledge that if there is a squeeze situation, and you get an indication, you throw up and in. I think Punto gave it away a little early and regardless of the pitch called by the catcher, it is Lyon’s job to throw up and in to induce the pop up that he got. That’s just baseball. Lyon is the one who should get credit. There is no “play” for it, other than the pitch. The ‘problem’ I have with it is that it was so obvious that it was coming.

  3. Dome Dog September 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    Sorry Seth, I wasn’t trying to say that you said Leyland outcoached Gardy, but I can see where it looked that way by what I wrote. My bad!

    My only thought it that if the squeeze was so obvious, why didn’t Detroit call for a pitchout? Isn’t that an option to combat the suicide squeeze? Either way, the play just turned into a complete suckfest for the Twins, and I thought it would cost them the game. Glad it didn’t.

    Gutsy performance by Blackburn today. Would be nice if the big boppers (Mauer, Kubel, Cuddyer) carried the club tonight!

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