Hello, I Must Be Going

Five days in the life: An anguished ALCS diary

I will say that it was both wondrous and terrible to behold, and it made me a very unhappy man. You always hear talk of athletes "trying to do too much," and everybody in the Twins lineup right now is trying to do too much, including and perhaps especially the manager. I only wish they still brought the pitchers in from the bullpen in automobiles; that would have at least made for an entertaining diversion during the otherwise excruciating eighth inning. How many relievers can Ron Gardenhire fit in the back of a Volkswagen? And can any of them get anybody out?

Honest to God, I should be ashamed of myself for how much this stuff bothers me, how much it hurts. I know how unseemly it is that a stinking baseball game can make me such a miserable person. In less than 24 hours I managed to eat our entire supply of Halloween candy. I'm having a hard time moving the words tonight, Steve. I keep feeling them trying to climb up my throat and I can feel them falling back down into my stomach. I can almost hear them, can almost make out what they're trying to say. It's a painful feeling, the worst sort of indigestion. Of course that might just be all those Tootsie Rolls.

 

Game 5: Angels 13, Twins 5

If Gary Gaetti's immortal quote, "It's hard to play with both hands around your neck," didn't come to mind at some point during the last couple of games in Anaheim, then you're not a real Twins fan. You can blame Gardenhire all you want, but this was a full-team meltdown. The Twins came into the postseason with a reputation for excellent defense and proceeded to commit seven errors and surrender seven unearned runs. The top of the order, the middle of the order, the bottom of the order--point your finger in just about any direction and you can find a goat.

The team's bullpen picked up the slack for the struggling rotation all year, and had prolonged stretches of domination both before and after the All Star break. They then had a 5.11 ERA in the playoffs, and got absolutely rocked in the decisive fourth and fifth games in Anaheim. Five guys combined to give up 15 runs in games where the Twins were either leading or within striking distance. It couldn't have been any uglier. Especially today: 10 runs off four Twins relievers in the 7th.

Despite his first lousy outing, Rodriguez, the 20-year-old wunderkind of the series, got the victory, his fourth in the postseason. That's the sort of ridiculous, charmed thing that happens to teams of destiny. A guy like Adam Kennedy, who hit seven home runs all season, steps up and hits three in one game. That's the sort of thing that only happens to teams of destiny.

It's all very painful, but I guess I'll do what I'm supposed to do and tip my cap to Mike Scioscia for the job he did. I'm now prepared to acknowledge that the Angels were a better all-around team than my beloved Twins--mentally tougher, better prepared, and better managed.

And one last question: Now what am I supposed to do with my life?

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