Posted at 1:16 AM on August 18, 2005
by Josh Lee
When I saw that the White Sox were starting Mark Buehrle tonight, I got nervous. When I saw that the Twins' lineup for the game included Brent Abernathy in left field and Michael Cuddyer in right -- meaning that the team has now reached the point where they have to press-gang their legion of 4-A utility infielders into service as utility outfielders -- I did a double-take. When Johan Santana hit one batter and walked another in the first inning, a numbing chill began to creep up my spine, my senses rebelling at the thought of tracking yet another game that was lost before it even started.
But Santana worked his way out of the jam, and it was another five innings before he deigned to allow another runner onto the basepaths. And on the few occasions that the White Sox managed to get a ball up in the air, that motley assortment of substitute outfielders got under it just fine. And best of all, the Twins offense -- they really do have an offense! -- drove Buehrle plum crazy: two home runs by Matthew LeCroy were followed by a fifth inning that featured a balk to score one run, a sac bunt to score another, and an error to score a third. And at the end of it all, the Twins won 5-1 to round out a sweep of the best team in the league.
I was going to write something about how I shouldn't get my hopes up based on a couple of good games, about how six wins in one week is just a blip, about how the Twins would have to take every game from now to eternity just to claw their way into contention -- but you know what? Minnesota is four games back in a wide-open wild card race, and when you get right down to it, I'm the kind of fan who'd rather see his team go down fighting than see it throw in the towel early. There's a time to recognize that your team is largely staffed by career minor-leaguers in over their heads, and there's a time for unreasoning, wild-eyed optimism. I think it's time to pull out the homer hankies. Or at least the sac-bunt hankies.