Deja Vu All Over Again
If you were busy all day yesterday (like I was) and didn’t tune in the game until moments before the first pitch, you were in for quite a surprise. Early in the day, the Twins released Mike “Out Like A…” Lamb from their roster, and added old fan-favorite Eddie “G-Man” Guardado to the bullpen, trading young Mark Hamburger (greatest last name ever?!) to the Texas Rangers as compensation. Talk about deja vu! Before my thoughts on “Everyday’s” return, though, here is a quick summary of the game, which actually produced just as much deja vu as Eddie did…
After a season series that to this point had featured some of the highest scoring games of the year, this contest was as tight as tight can be. The Twins got a single run on the board in the third inning when Alexi Casilla drove in Denard Span, but a double from Miguel “Dumbo” Cairo (have you seen that guy’s ears?!) tied things up.
Things looked really promising in the eighth inning, when Delmon Young’s single scored Joe Mauer to give the Twins a 2-1. However, a lead-off double from Adrian Beltre (unfortunately, more on him later) eventually came around to score on Joe Nathan in the ninth (there goes the sub-1.00 ERA), and the game went into extras.
After a scoreless tenth for both teams, Jesse Crain started his second inning of work in the bottom of the eleventh. While watching the game on television, I suddenly had a terrible case of deja vu, remembering back to June 7 of 2006, when in a game against the Mariners Crain gave up a long home run to Carl Everett (one of those no-doubters) to blow the game. Sadly, my feeling ended up being correct…after carefully pitching to new Twin killer (didn’t we leave those guys behind in Anaheim?) Raul Ibanez and walking him, Crain’s first pitch to Beltre was absolutely crushed to deep left field for the walk-off dinger. Game over.
-How exciting is it to have Eddie back?! Based purely on skill, he is better than Craig Breslow, and Reyes only beats him on the Big Sweat’s best outing. More importantly, though, is the experience and excitement that Eddie brings to the club. G-Man went through the playoff wars with this club earlier in the decade, and usually would rise to the challenge despite his sub-par repertoire of pitches. Can you imagine the ovation he will get in his first Metrodome appearance?! His career really fizzled after two good seasons with the Mariners, after which he bounced around for awhile, so hopefully he can get things back on track as a Twin.
-Need I say more about Jesse Crain? If the Twins were to release him today, I would not complain a bit. He throws heat, but that heat all too often has zero movement and ends up being hit hard. As I have said so many times before, he has never sniffed the success of his awesome 2005 campaign (12-5, 2.71).
-However, I suppose if I do believe that strongly in deja vu, I should actually be happy, as right after Crain blew that Seattle game in 2006, the Twins were suddenly resurrected from the grave, and the rest is history.
Preview (74-57, 2nd, 1.0 GB CWS): Scott Baker (7-3, 3.74) vs. Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-2, 3.84). The Twins jumped all over Smith (three runs in the first inning, I believe) when they faced him a week and a half ago at the Dome, so it would be nice to continue that success.