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The Shake-Up

One would be tempted to see today's trade of Luis Castillo to the Mets for a future back-up catcher and no-hit centerfielder as form of concession. One might think that the Twins are cutting bait and acknowledging that the Tigers, Indians, and the rest of the pack in between them and the wild card spot can't be overcome. But tonight, the Twins appeared inspired by the trade, and with Scott Baker on the mound--who, had it not been for the first two batters in the fourth inning, threw a perfect game--we beat the red hot Kansas City Royals 3-1.

Jason Tyner was penciled in at lead-off and did his level best to help the crowds forget there ever was a Luis Castillo, going 3 for 4, just a home run shy of the cycle, and scoring twice. Joe Mauer shrugged off his slump, with a pair of hits and knocking in all 3 of the Twins runs. Why it was easy to forget that Justin Morneau went 2 for 3 with a walk, but didn't score (or send in any runs).

But praise the Lord, Scott Baker was awesome. He faced only one extra batter in his 8 innings, and seemed to get more and more efficient as the game wore on. Outside that fourth inning, the guy didn't throw more than 14 pitches an inning. Later, in the locker room, the kid from Shreveport fiddled nervously with a scrap of paper and did his best to answer questions. Was this his best game? Results-wise, yes. How did you feel about the trade? Well, it's sad, but it's also a business.

And so it is. Of course, I'd be a dad-blamed hypocrite, not to mention a candidate for whatever medicine they're giving manic-depressives, if I started yakking about how the Twins are going to turn it around now. Luis Castillo's trade might spur these guys to start winning, but it also might just end up being a good thing only for Luis Castillo, provided the Mets can hold off Philly and the Braves. Other teams have to lose, too, you know. But that's the beauty of this wicked sport--follow it long enough and your team, good or bad or downright awful, will reward you with magnificent games like this one. For now, that's enough.

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