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.
If we can get play like we did last night from a group of back-up outfielders dubbed "the Polka Patrol"... hope is in order.
Thanks for saying it first, Josh.
I sense definite optimism in Twins Territory™. Everyone I was watching the game was exstatic about being 7 games out only a week ago. I guess days like yesterday where you win and everyone else above you loses does that to you.
Then again, everyone also already conceded a loss for tonight with Joe Mays pitching.
mays needs to be put on assignment and fast. it's time for our triple A picthing staff to make their splash in the 2005 season wild car race. it worked for the polka patrol and with wided-eyed optomism it's going to work for the next Aces. it'll work if you just believe.
I agree. Get Baker and Liriano in here. Clubs have trouble with decent rookie starters, because they don't have scouting reports on them yet, and they can usually sneak a couple wins out before they start levelling off... maybe by that point, we will know alot more about where this team is at in the hunt, and perhaps some injured (mentally or physically) players are back to normal.
is this heaven?