Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nightly Notes: Game #157

Wow! I can't speak highly enough about the all around performance we saw the Twins put out on the field tonight. This was a team that was fired up and ready to battle -- as opposed to the White Sox, whose players mostly seemed uninterested. Here are some notes following this very encouraging series opener:

1.) First and foremost, this win means that the Twins will still be alive at the end of this series no matter what else happens -- although if they lose the next two games, they'd be barely hanging on and would need to win all of the rest of their games with the White Sox losing all of theirs just to get a chance to play Chicago next Tuesday in the tiebreaker. While tonight was huge, then, there is still obviously a lot of work to be done.

2.) Francisco Liriano stepped up with a great start on Sunday against the Rays, and tonight Scott Baker did the same (even better!) against the Sox. Baker's 7 inning, 1 run performance showed remarkable poise, and demonstrated once again that, while he might not be as flashy as Liriano, he's still a big game pitcher. With those two at the top of the rotation in a short playoff series, the Twins would be able to compete against just about anybody.

3.) There was a lot of angst before the start of the game because Jason Kubel got the start over Michael Cuddyer as the DH. This was apparently based on some statistical evidence that Cuddyer was better than Kubel against Javier Vazquez (although I wasn't interested enough to bother looking at what the numbers were). It was with great amusement, then, that I watched Kubel go 3-for-4 with 2 homers and a triple. Now, I always prattle on about how you can't judge a decision based on the result -- but in this case, the result at least seems to confirm that going with Kubel over Cuddyer wasn't some insane oversight on Gardy's part. Frankly, I don't know how I would have felt about this before the game started if I had looked at the overall numbers (maybe there's some evidence supporting the Cuddyer supporters -- I don't know); however, intuitively I would have gone with Kubel. He's been a solid contributor all year, and he's a lefty facing the right-handed Vazquez. In other words, all the fuss before the game was silly, and I really was pleased to see how things worked out tonight.

4.) I am probably the last person to believe this, especially after tonight, but I still think that Matt Guerrier can be a valuable part of the Twins bullpen. If not this year, hopefully next. If not, the Twins will have lost an important piece.

5.) For the first time since 1995, all is right with the world as the Yankees have finally been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Alright, I'm using some hyperbole there -- I don't mind seeing the Yankees make the playoffs on occasion. I just got incredibly sick of watching playoff games in Yankee Stadium, with all of the pompous coverage that went with it. I can't argue with the Yankees historical success -- clearly, they're the most successful team in MLB history. I also have to admit that this success is probably largely responsible for my dislike of the team (in fact, I don't try to hide that fact at all). Whatever the reason, though, I'm giddy that the Yankees playoff streak is over. Maybe if it lasts a few more years, I won't even mind if they become good again. Another World Series, though? Nah -- let's spread those around some more. Maybe in 2050 the Yankees can pick up another ring.

6.) Time is running out for the Brewers, as they'll need a ninth inning comeback if they're going to beat the Pirates tonight. I've officially decided that I'm rooting against them 100% after the firing of Ned Yost -- I don't want other GM's to get the idea that it's somehow anything other than idiotic and wrong to fire your manager with 3 weeks left when that manager got you to a position to contend for a playoff spot. Go Mets and Phils!

7.) Does anyone else think that the new CBS series "The Mentalist" is just a not-funny version of USA's "Psych?" I watched the premiere tonight (I get the Twins on my computer, leaving the TV open for such things), and wasn't that impressed. It wasn't a BAD show, it just wasn't that exciting. Psych, on the other hand, is hilarious -- and if you've never had a chance to watch it you should make the effort when it comes back this winter.



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