Results tagged ‘ Nate Robertson ’
For about the last 2-3 weeks, the sentiment around the Twins organization has been to just continue to play meaningful baseball for as long as possible. Well, that plan was in serious jeopardy earlier this afternoon, as a loss against the Tigers would have eliminated the Twins from playoff contention.
Thankfully, the Twins were able to win a sloppy game (Baker only went five innings, and the defense committed four errors) thanks to the offense’s ability to pick away at Nate Robertson in the early innings and the bullpen shutting the door (besides two unearned runs) for the rest of the way for the 8-3 victory.
Of course, were not this essentially an elimination game for the Twins, the big story would have been the bad blood that permeated the atmosphere all day long between both clubs.
It all started when Scott Baker skidded a pitch right by the face of Marcus Thames…
Thames glared out towards Baker, but then quietly took his base after being hit. It didn’t look as if Baker had an intention of plunking him, especially in such an important game, and there really isn’t any history between the two.
The next batter then grounded a ball that looked like a double-play all the way, but Thames slid hard into Orlando Cabrera and wasn’t called out for interference…
Was it a close play? Certainly, as the tip of Thames’ toes did touch the base. Yet, it was clear that his intentions were to get in O-Cab’s grill. Borderline dirty, especially if Cabrera would have been injured on the play, but understandable if you are Thames and still feeling the wind of that fastball by your chin.
Things heated right back up again in the next inning, when Thames stepped back into the box. A high hard one forced Thames to move out of the box a bit, and he took a long glare out at Baker before reconsidering a charge. Again, I really couldn’t determine intention from the pitch, as it wasn’t thrown at his body and I don’t think Baker would ever purposely throw at a guy’s head.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of things either. Who knows who (manager, player himself, etc.) instigates these things, but when Jose Mijares came into the game to relieve Matt Guerrier in the eighth, his first pitch sailed right behind Adam Everett. This time, it was clear that retaliation was the name of the game, and both benches were warned, leading to the tossing of one manager (although not the one Twins fans would expect)…
Described as the “Ron Gardenhire Memorial Ejection” by the TV announcers, Jim Leyland was booted by home plate ump Angel Hernandez. It was clear that the Tigers were now miffed, and it didn’t take too long for the final straw to break.
In the top of the ninth, leadoff batter Delmon Young was quickly plunked in the calf by Jeremy Bonderman, who was promptly give the old heave-ho by Hernandez. But then, one of the strangest sights I had ever seen transpired behind home plate…
Young, in obvious pain after getting hit in what looked to be square on the calf muscle, hopped around for a bit until the pain had subsided, then starting having words with a member of his one team! No Tiger player was within ten feet of him, and Young was mouthing obscenities and pointing towards his home dugout. Both benches emptied at that point, but by the time the bullpens got into things nothing really had developed (no punches or kicks thrown).
Dick and Bert were at a bit of a loss in deciphering what had set Delmon Young off, but the only thing they could think of is that Young was angry at Mijares for instigating the beanball war the previous inning. You know, were this not happening in a crucial point of the season, I think that Young would be a big story in the papers and media. To have words with your own teammate who’s just trying to have your back is upsetting, especially coming from a guy who might still be best known in professional baseball for this unsavory incident…
Like I said, little will be made of this incident in the coming days due to the pennant chase, but if Go-Go is playing the outfield at the Dome tomorrow you’ll know why.
Preview (83-76, 2nd, 2.0 GB DET): Lenny DiNardo (0-2, 7.52) vs. Jeff Manship (0-1, 5.81). The Tigers draw Peavy tomorrow, while the pitchers in this game leave little to be desired or hoped for. Could be a crazy one!
I contemplated doing a lengthy piece tonight about how the Twins are done and how it finally came to this point. With the Tigers’ magic number down to 2 to clinch the AL Central, things sure are looking grim for our boys.
However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it has been to never give up on the Twins. They seem to play their best with their backs up against the wall, and I’m hoping that proves true tomorrow as well.
Here’s the way I look at it: A loss tomorrow and the whole ball of wax is gone, that much is mathematical. However, a win would actually swing some momentum back in our favor a little bit. Would we be in great position? No. But at least Detroit would have to beat the likes of Jake Peavy, Freddy Garcia, and John Danks, while we would get Zack Grienke on our turf and than not much else from the Royals.
So, I’m not giving up yet. Two seasons of Twins late-season heroics (’06, ’08) are on my side. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
Preview (82-76, 2nd, 3.0 GB DET): Scott Baker (14-9, 4.48) vs. Nate Robertson (2-2, 5.56).
Well folks, here we go again!! As common as .500 baseball has been for the Twins over the past two or three seasons, just as common has been incredibly inspired late-season play.
After taking the first game in this playoff-like Dome series against the Tigers last night thanks to the brilliant pitching of Brian Duensing, the Twins needed to keep the momentum going this afternoon and did so in spectacular fashion.
For the first seven innings, this game was the tightest of pitchers duels, with Carl Pavano’s hex on the Tiger bats matching Justin Verlander’s 99 mph heater. Both teams got a run early, and the Tigers scored again in the third to go up 2-1, a score that would hold until the bottom of the eighth inning.
Really, though, the momentum in this game began to shift in the top half of that inning. With Pavano out of the game after having pitched incredibly well, the ball was given to the ever-shaky Jesse Crain…who proceeded to get three quick outs on just eleven pitches (I probably should heap the credit on Crain tonight, as somewhere along the line I will be quick to jump all over him a bit later).
Of course, things didn’t look all that bad for Verlander in that fateful eighth to begin with, as Punto struck out and Span hit one of his patented singles to land on first. Orlando Cabrera then lifted a lazy fly ball to left field that Don Kelly, who had been put into the game as a defensive substition just an inning previous, easily had measured…until he didn’t, of course, and the ball dropped to put runners on second and third. With opposing teams only having to deal with those kind of Dome Balls for five more contests, the baseball gods must be getting their money’s worth.
Joe Mauer was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Jason Kubel promptly doinked a single into left that scored both Span and Cabrera to give the Twins a lead. That was the end of the night for Verlander, but the firemen didn’t do much better, as Brandon Lyon quickly served up a three-run jack to the suddenly red-hot Michael Cuddyer to give the Twins a 6-2 cushion, which would amount to the final score.
For the first time in quite awhile, I am seriously considering watching the Twins over the Vikings tomorrow afternoon. I usually award that time-slot to the footballers due to their once-a-week status, but there is just too much excitement emanating from the Metrodome right now to turn away! Since the Vikes start at noon and the Twins’ opening pitch is 1:10, I’ll at least have a bit of time to see how the Vikes game is going (maybe they’ll be beating the Lions so badly it won’t even be a decision!).
Preview (76-72, 2nd, 2.0 GB DET): Nate Robertson (1-2, 5.35) vs. Scott Baker (13-8, 4.35). Basically, this game could decide the season. A win pretty much evens things up, while a loss likely means that perfection will be needed down the stretch.