Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Twins Pull Off Impossible

(Photo from Wednesday's Star Tribune)

Shortly after ten Wednesday morning, I flipped on ESPN and was watching SportsCenter. Josh Elliot and Hannah Storm had baseball insider Buster Olney on, and they were about to show highlights of Tuesday's AL Central tiebreaker game.

Sometimes, you can watch something a dozen times, and still have difficulty believing everything that happened. This was one of those times.

The Tigers and Twins played an epic tiebreaker Tuesday at the Metrodome, going back and forth for almost five hours before Alexi Casilla won the game with an RBI single to right field. Carlos Gomez flew across home plate with the winning run in a 6-5 game, and the Twins are off to get killed by play the Yankees in a best-of-five starting later Wednesday in New York.

Since the Yankees won the season series 7-0 and have dominated most everyone in the American League this season, no one thinks the Twins can win. Then again, Minnesota had no business winning the division. They trailed by seven games a month ago, and it was hardly an epic choke by the Tigers that allowed them to win this thing. Instead, the Twins took the division away by finishing 17-4, winning four of their last seven against Detroit, and getting a few bounces along the way.

In the playoff game, Minnesota blew some golden chances to win. However, we also saw why this game was even necessary. A Detroit team that (arguably) has superior hitting, power, and starting pitching found a way to kick away valuable runs, while the somewhat undermanned Twins kept founding ways to get on base, manufacture runs, and even got a couple long balls thrown in.

The Metrodome even chipped in when all looked lost in the tenth inning. Leadoff hitter Michael Cuddyer hit a blooper to left field. Detroit's Ryan Raburn lost the ball in the roof/lights, and then tried to make a shoestring catch. Instead, the ball hit the turf just in front of his glove, bounced up and over the glove, and somehow eluded Curtis Granderson, who had come from center field to back up the play. Cuddyer had a triple, and he scored the game's tying run before Casilla's gaffe cost the Twins a potential win later in the inning.

The Twins are unlikely to get by against the Yankees by missing countless scoring opportunities, as they did on Tuesday. They're also unlikely to win if they have to get a bunch of innings from their bullpen, because it kind of stinks.

However, they are more than capable of getting lucky a couple times, and this team -- believe it or not -- is good enough to beat the Yankees straight-up once in a five-game series. That's all it would take.

No one is going to be silly enough to call the upset, but at least they've given themselves a chance.

1 comment:

USAFA Bulldog said...

As another Blog stated, the Twins weren't expected to do anything in the '87 playoffs either, they were heavily favored to lose and maybe not even win one game.