Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thoughts on the Throttling of the Tigers

     Last night, I attended the wildest and strangest Twins game of the season. In fact it was so weird, I'm scrapping the Twins Week in Review to focus on this instead.
     I went with my dad and nephew, we parked a few blocks away from the field at one of the meters. My first thought coming out of the car was, Crap I forgot my scorebook. Yes, I do keep score, at least a few times a season. I quickly forgot about it until after the game when we were walking back to the car and I remembered it. Looking back at it I'm glad I didn't have it.
     Anyway, going back to the game, the final score was so lopsided it's easy to forget that for a good portion of the game the outcome was still in doubt. Tommy Milone was only making his third start with the Twins, but from his first two and reading about him in Oakland, I had already figured out one thing: He couldn't be more inconsistent. As evidenced by his high WHIP, he puts guys on base, but some nights he gets lucky and doesn't give any up big hits Other nights, well things go downhill. A few minutes after we finished discussing whether Milone would get through the fourth inning, Kinsler lined the fifth pitch of the game into the bullpen, my first thought was, "This is going to be a long night,"
     But the pessimism was short lived when Milone didn't allow any other runs the next two innings and the Twins put up a six spot in the second. After that, the Twins just needed to fall on the ball, as my dad and I call it. It's an expression we use whenever the Twins score a lot of runs early in the game and you can see the inevitable collapse coming. Sure enough, Milone kept putting runners in scoring position until the fifth when all the dangers he had been in caught up to him and the Tigers scored four runs and were poised for more when this happened.
     I was sitting about the 20th row down the first baseline, so I had no idea what happened. I got the idea that a fan had interfered based on Arcia's reaction, but other than that I wasn't sure. Seeing the highlight, I'm disgusted. Shut up, obnoxious guy and your annoying daughters, it's not funny. The Twins could have easily lost the game because of you. You don't know yet they're going to score nine next inning.
    The Twins eventually got out of it with just one more run scoring on a brilliant double play going Dozier-Escobar-Mauer. That's when the fun started.
     Escobar, the Twins good fielding, light hitting utility infielder who committed two errors and came within a double of the cycle lead it off with a triple over Rajai Davis's head. My as he rounded second you could tell he wanted to run home, but Vavra held him up. I know it was the right decision, given that there weren't any outs and it ended up starting a rally. But,from my perspective, it looked like he would've made it if he had gone. From there, Schafer and Santana walked, bringing up Mr. Dozier, who smashed a single past the drawn in infield, causing my dad to say, "That's the first time I can ever remember Dozier getting a clutch hit," It was that kind of night.
    That brought up Mauer, who, hell bent on silencing the "he only gets hits with no one on" idiots  hit a single of his own, bringing in two. After that, a lot of people got hits. Nothing particularly interesting happened until the eighth, which is where our story continues.
     At the beginning of the bottom, I got back from getting a drink of water, and noticed how awkward the Tigers pitcher looked. Then I looked up the radar gun to see his fastball was hitting 81 MPH. That could only mean one thing, we were witnessing the ultimate sign of a blowout. Shortstop Andrew Romine was pitching. In fact, he was doing pretty well until Arcia hit a moonshot off the flag pole on the plaza. After he rounded the bases, I said, "The only thing that would've made that better would be if he had flipped his bat after hitting it. I went back to the highlights. He did.
     Plouffe, the next batter hit one over the left field wall to make the game officially goofy. Two batters later, Schafer lined out hard to right and slammed his bat, humiliated that he hadn't gotten a hit off the infielder. Although I'm sure Suzuki would have done anything to change places with him. He struck out looking on a 81 mile per hour fastball to cap off his 0-6 night. Poor guy.

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