Posted at 10:55 AM on September 23, 2005
by David Zingler
The Twins were officially eliminated from the playoffs yesterday. Although we all saw it coming, a post season free campaign is definitely a downer. Or is it? Other than the thrilling, 5 game ALDS victory over Oakland in 2002(and who doesn’t beat Oakland in the playoffs?), there hasn’t been many fond post season memories of late for Twins fans. They were slaughtered by Anaheim in the ensuing ALCS and easily dispatched by the Yankees in the 2003 and 2004 Division Series.
So, for those of you who have had to resort to Prozac and Red Bull to get out of bed during this unceremonious end to the Twins season, here is what would have happened if Our Little Team that (almost) Could had reached the postseason.
With the Yankees edging out Boston in the East, Anaheim holding off Oakland in the West and Mr. Collins’ Cleveland squad winning the Central, our Wild Card Twins once again square off with the mighty Yankees in the ALDS.
Game 1: Johan Santana vs. Randy Johnson
On a sunny afternoon in the Bronx, Santana and Johnson baffled hitters for seven innings resulting in a 0-0 tie. Santana however, began to tire in the 8th, walking Jason Giambi to lead off the inning, who was then lifted for pinch runner Tony Womack. With former Twin Matt Lawton on deck, Ron Gardenhire called in J.C. Romero to put out the fire. Not good. The Yanks put on the hit and run with a 3-0 count. Lawton singled to right and Womack advanced to third. With righty Derek Jeter on deck, Jesse Crain is summoned. Tim McCarver’s favorite player lifts a fly ball to center which is deep enough to plate Womack – 1-0 Evil Empire. The inning ends quietly and Mariano Rivera comes in and gets three straight outs. Game over.
Game 2: Brad Radke vs. Mike Mussina
After giving up back-to-back solo homers to A-Rod and Gary Sheffield in the first, Radke settles down. The Twins meanwhile, are able to scrape together two runs in the 6th and tie the game at two. With the score still 2-2 in the 12th and Tanyon Sturtze on the hill, Joe Mauer draws a lead off walk and Justin Morneau singles to right. With Jacque Jones on deck, Sturtze is lifted for lefty Al Leiter. Jones (who Joe Buck says should lifted for a pinch hitter) jumps on Lieter's first pitch – a hanging curve – which ends up the second deck in right. 5-2 Twins. The inning ends quietly and the Twins send Joe Nathan to the hill. With the temperature in the 40s, Nathan struggles, giving up a leadoff double to A-Rod and back-to-back walks to Sheffield and Matsui. Despite his ineffectiveness, Gardenhire leaves his closer in to face Giambi. In an epic at-bat, Giambi works a full count and fouls off seven straight pitches. Nathan, clearly tired, leaves a fast ball up in the zone which Giambi crushes to dead center. Torii Hunter (he’s healthy now) tracks the ball to the wall, leaps and snatches it for a split second before his elbow slams into the metal railing at the top of the fence and the ball falls out, landing next to Babe Ruth's monument. Thuh Yankees win! Thuuuuuuh Yankees win! Dick Bremer is put on suicide watch.
Game 3: Jaret Wright vs. Carlos Silva
Silva is game, but the Twins bats are not. The efficient right-hander hurls an 88 pitch complete game, giving up solo homers to A-Rod in the 3rd and Matsui in the 7th. With the score 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth and Rivera on the mound, Michael Cuddyer leads off the inning with a homer to left. The next three hitters strike out however, and the game ends 2-1. The season is over.
So there you have it. Other than some gut-wrenching heart break in Game 2, we aren’t missing much.