Twins take my advice, start playing like '62 Mets
As if someone from the Twins' PR department read yesterday's blog and saw the proverbial lightbulb shining overhead, our basement-dwelling team took a page from those beloved Mets of old and threw away a winnable game against the Detroit Tigers yesterday, 4-2.
The Tigers swept the Twins, who have fallen twenty games below .500. They are on a pace to lose an epic 111 games.
In light of this abject futility, I wrote yesterday that we should embrace this club, with all its bad luck, injuries, and crappy, crappy fielding. Like the 1962 New York Mets, about whom numerous memoirs and reminiscences have been written, the 2011 Minnesota Twins are nearing that level of awful play.
Consider yesterday's game. The Tigers went up 4-0 on a Miguel Cabrera home run in the third inning. Those two baserunners were put there on walks by Scott Baker, who's not known for walking men back-to-back.
Just a couple of at-bats later, Detroit's Andy Dirks hits a foul ball that catcher Drew Butera, Justin Morneau, or even Baker could have easily glommed.
Butera went under it, readied himself to catch the thing, then leapt out of the way and the ball plopped down between everyone. Dirks walked and stole second, and we were lucky to get out of the inning without any more damage.
We're lucky because that same damn inning, Delmon Young, who is burning every bridge in town with his lackluster play, dropped a foul ball that kept Jhonny Peralta's at-bat alive. Peralta's been on a minor tear against the Twins, so this was no slouch.
Did I mention that Gardenhire tried to explain Butera's error by saying that some hecklers yelled "I got it!" so he jumped out of the way. Strange. That never works for me even in church-league softball.
In the words of Casey Stengel, about his woebegone Mets: Can't anybody here play this game?
Apparently not. The top of the 7th inning was another example of Mets-like joy and anguish. The joy? Light hitting Drew Butera, he of the dropped foul, drilled a two-run home run. The third of his admittedly short career.
The other guy on base? The other butterfinger, Delmon Young.
Same inning, two outs, 4-2, and we load the bases how? With Casilla's bunt single, a hit batsman in Justin Morneau, and a Michael Cuddyer walk. Up comes Trevor Plouffe facing the Tigers' Al Albuquerque, which is one of the coolest names in the sport. Well, Mr. Albuquerque proceeds to slam the door shut by tossing one down the heart of the plate that Plouff just stares at, his bat on his shoulder.
Inning over. And soon it was game over (I'm going to spare you the drama of the 9th inning), yet another one in the loss column.
A number of friends took me to task comparing the Twins to the '62 Mets, since those Mets were young, awful players in a town still bruised from the loss of the Dodgers and Giants. Whereas the Twins are a high payroll club full of underperforming veterans who should be playing better.
There's truth to that complaint, but still, you've got to give this club credit for losing in such spectacular fashion.
Around the horn:
Now even ESPN's Buster Onley is weighing in on the Twins raising the white flag and trading away some of their players.
The Twins are now 20 games under .500, 17-37, astonishing numbers. Some rival executives wonder when Minnesota will raise the white flag on its season, in light of the fact that the Twins are, generally speaking, among the more conservative clubs when it comes to midseason moves -- buying or selling. A super-aggressive general manager (like White Sox GM Kenny Williams) might already be inclined to make major changes, given the number of potentially marketable players the Twins have, from Jason Kubel to Michael Cuddyer to Delmon Young, in what is a thin market.
Kubel's on the DL, but he'd get some decent prospects, as might Cuddyer. Young's value is diminishing, but I bet a wily GM would think (and rightly so in my mind) that Young might fare better in a new environment.
According to the Strib's Joe Christensen, Joe Mauer is going to catch a few innings today. "He has to be healthy," Gardenhire was quoted as saying. Of course, that means healthy enough to squat behind the plate. Whether or not he's healthy enough to hit remains a mystery.
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