Posted at 10:57 PM on September 28, 2006
by Josh Lee
Before tonight's game, I thought to myself, "this is basically a rehab start for Brad Radke. If he can pitch four decent innings, that will be enough." When a guy spends a month on the DL after pitching most of the season with a broken shoulder, and when that guy is the one you're hoping to count on to be your third starter in the playoffs, you don't need to overtax him. When a guy carried his team through those empty seasons in the late 90s, anchored it during its rebirth in the early 00s, and was a pivotal part of its turnaround this year -- while pitching with a broken shoulder -- he doesn't really have to prove anything to anyone. When a guy causes you to get choked up every time he pops up in those sentimental fan appreciation ads that the Twins have been running lately, he's already given you more than enough, and anything else you get from him is gravy.
After five innings, in which Radke gave up only three hits and one unearned run while inducing three double plays, I thought to myself, "why the heck is Gardy pulling him so early?" Tonight, Brad Radke didn't look like a guy whose arm fell clean off his torso a month ago, and he didn't look like a guy making a farewell start as he drifts towards retirement. He looked the kind of player you read about in stories, the kind that comes back from innumerable setbacks and against all odds, to pitch like he's never pitched before -- or even better, to pitch just as well as he's ever pitched, which is pretty darn good.
Oh, and what's this? Is this a tie between Minnesota and Detroit for first place in the AL Central? Why, I think it is.
It's all coming together...there is something special going on here....
I can't stop smiling. I can't sleep at night. I can't focus at work during the day. I can't breathe correctly while the Twins are playing. I've lost at least ten years off my life just in the past week, and my heart regularily skips whole beats. But at the end of the day...I'm so freakin happy...and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Not anything.