October 8, 2002
What a game!
Joe Mays was absolutely awesome.
Aside from Guzman, the defense played very well.
And the Twins were very patient at the plate, especially against Appier, and they worked some walks, got some hits and managed to get a couple of clutch hits.
Since I couldn't find anyone to give me great tickets for free, I watched it on TV.
Here is my (completely unedited) running diary:
This running diary is coming to you LIVE from a 10x12 dorm room on the University of Minnesota campus.
I am pleased to be joined by a Swansons Hungry Man turkey and mashed potato microwave dinner, a half gallon of 1% Milk and a frozen Milky Way bar.
On to the diary...
No lineup surprises, both teams are going with their "expected" lineups against right handed starters.
Bud Selig is in the house!
For some reason I don't think he will be going through the crowd shaking hands and kissing babies tonight.
FOX pregame show host Jeanne Zelasko has one of the worst hair cuts/styles of all-time.
Nice looking woman and everything, but in need of a decent haircut.
The pregame show just *bleeped* the word aberration during a Twins montage, pretty funny.
Remember when I said (in my series preview) that if you listen to most announcers they will tell you that Minnesota has the best defense in the league?
Kevin Kennedy just said Minnesota is "the best defensive team in baseball," and "Torii Hunter is the best CF is the AL."
Like I said in the preview, I think the actual evidence would prove both of those statements wrong, but as a Twins fan, I don't mind that everyone thinks that.
Okay, pregame show over.
Joe Mays takes the mound in the first inning.
The stats that they show (4-8, 5.38 ERA, etc) while he throws his warmup pitches have to be some of the worst ever for a game 1 starter in an LCS.
Our announcers this evening are Thom Brennaman and Steve Lyons. (Yippee!)
Thom opens the broadcast by saying, "Many believe this (the Twins) is the best defensive team in the major leagues."
He also says, "Many believe Cristian Guzman will win a Gold Glove at shortstop someday."
Who is this "Many" that he is quoting and why doesn't someone show him some defensive stats?
You gotta love those commercials that go from someone smoking marijuana to killing children in under 20 seconds.
Does anyone know what it is a commercial for? I can't quite figure out what they are selling? Insurance? Hamburgers?
FOX just gave us a view of the "Owner's Suite" at The Dome, where we were treated to the sight of Bud Selig sitting with Carl Pohlad, with both of them laughing!
Pohlad: Good crowd tonight, huh Bud?
Selig: Yeah Carl. Did you know the Brewers have a new stadium?
Pohlad: Say, did you ever hear the one about the Priest, the Rabbi and the Minister?
Jacque Jones leads off for the Twins and pops the 2-2 pitch up to David Eckstein at shortstop.
Brennaman says, "Eckstein was really battling the roof on that one."
Meanwhile, Eckstein just had to jog back a few feet and easily caught the ball.
Corey Koskie gets the first Minnesota hit with a single to right field.
During David Ortiz's at bat, Anaheim catcher Bengie Molina makes a snap throw to first base that would have gotten Koskie out, but it bounced in the dirt.
Steve Lyons: "Molina didn't even bother standing up on that throw, he just threw it from his CROTCH."
Feel free to insert your own punchline for that, I don't really have one, but I thought I needed to make mention of it.
Ugh! Ortiz swings at a 3-0 pitch and hits a weak popup to left field for the third out.
Shouldn't Jack Bauer be in line for some extended vacation time before he has to go out on another big adventure?
I mean for God's sake, the man had a very tough day.
Guzman is making the plays at SS, but I just wish he didn't look some damn lazy out there.
Joe Mays looks absolutely sedated out on the mound, drugged even.
Anaheim DH and #6 hitter Brad Fullmer looks like someone who could play the part of the "Feared, Mean, Power Hitting Slugger" in Major League 7.
He's got the big arms, the "I haven't shaved in a few days" look and the spitting brown liquid routine down perfect.
Torii Hunter leads off the 2nd with a double off of the right-centerfield baggy.
Appier bounces a pitch past Molina and Torii scampers to third.
Mientkiewicz pops up the next pitch to Glaus in foul territory.
Michael Cuddyer walks on 4 pitches, 1st and 3rd with 1 out.
The Twins look very patient against Kevin Appier so far, which is a good sign.
A.J. Pierzynski gives a 3-1 pitch a good ride to centerfield, Erstad catches it for the out and Torii tags and scores from 3rd.
Luis Rivas comes up with 2 outs and Cuddyer on 1st.
Lyons says, "Defensively, it doesn't get much better than Rivas at second base."
While you are getting "Many" those defensive stats, make a copy for Mr. Lyons.
Molina makes another snap throw to first, but Cuddyer dives back safely.
Rivas strikes out on a 3-2 pitch.
Appier has thrown 41 pitches through 2 innings.
Steve Lyons called the simultaneous games tomorrow night a "paradise."
Um Steve, some people might actually think it was nice if we could watch both games, at different times.
Lyons: "Mays looks like he is gonna fall asleep out there."
HEY! I already said that!
Adam Kennedy slaps a single to left field.
The Angels play hit and run with Eckstein, who singles to right field.
UGH! Guzman lets a routine groundball go between hits legs.
WAKE UP GUZY!
Kennedy scores from 2nd.
After the error, Lyons says Guzman is "a potential Gold Glover."
By the way, I swear I wrote the thing about Guzman looking lazy out in the field BEFORE he made the error.
Mays manages to get out of the inning without any further damage.
Jacque Jones drives a pitch to deep right field, but Tim Salmon makes the catch with his back up against the baggy.
Several people (possibly trainers?) on the Angels' bench are wearing ear plugs.
Brennaman and Lyons just spent about 5 minutes talking in great detail about the ground rules in regard to the speakers at The Dome, which come into play about once every 100 or so odd games.
Fullmer beats out an infield single on a grounder up the middle that Rivas can't get to first in time.
Mays gets Scott Spiezio to hit a high chopper to first that Mientkiewicz makes a nice leaping grab on, inning over.
Mays is pitching great. 52 pitches through 4 innings. 6 groundball outs and 5 flyball outs.
Will any non-married men in the entire universe watch "Girls Club" (a new show on FOX)? Uh...NO!
Ortiz rips a 1-2 pitch into right field for a leadoff single in the 4th.
Hunter lays down a bunt and is thrown out at first on a nice play by Molina.
Brennaman says, "That is an example of the style of this Minnesota team, the five hole hitter hitting a sacrifice bunt."
About 30 seconds later, after someone actually looked up the numbers on that, Brennaman says, "That was the first sacrifice bunt on the year for Hunter."
Does it count as the "style of the team" if it is the first time they have done something the entire season?
Mientkiewicz walks on four pitches, putting runners on 1st and 2nd with ONE out.
Brennaman says there are "Two on and TWO out."
Torii's attempt at "little ball" doesn't work as the Twins fail to score.
Brennaman, talking about the two teams playing in the regular season says, "These teams went toe-to-toe...and I mean LITERALLY toe-to-toe...nine times this year."
Yes Thom, the Twins and Angels "literally" went toe-to-toe, it was really an amazing sight, although somewhat disturbing.
Rivas starts the 5th with a walk (!?!?).
Everyone but Jacque Jones is talking a ton of pitches so far.
Guzman lines a base hit over the outstretched glove of Eckstein and into centerfield.
Two on and 1 out.
Koskie lines a 2-2 pitch into the right field corner.
Rivas scores, Guzman checks in at 3rd base.
Ortiz pops a 2-2 pitch up to Spiezio in foul ground for the 2nd out.
Brendan Donnelly is starting to warmup in the pen.
Torii lays off of a tough 2-2 pitch and then swings at ball four, striking out to end the inning.
Joe Mays gets Anaheim 1-2-3 in the 6th and is cruising with only 72 pitches thrown.
Donnelly comes in and gets the Twins 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 6th.
By the way, the reason my recap on the 6th inning was so abbreviated was that I went to the bathroom and on the way back to my room I stopped by another room that had a bunch of people in it watching the game.
I was met with a discussion of whether or not everyone in the room had thrown up yet during their time at the U of M this year.
When the answer to that became way too obvious, the question was narrowed to whether or not they had thrown up inside of the particular dorm that we all live in.
I'll let you guess what the answer to that was.
Koskie makes a great play on an in-between hop from a Spiezio grounder, throwing him out for the 3rd out of the 7th inning.
Mays through 7: 88 pitches (60 for strikes), 4 hits, 2 Ks, 0 BB. 11 groundball outs - 8 flyball outs.
Boy was I wrong about him, he has been great.
I would leave him in to pitch the 8th for sure.
Thom Brennaman LITERALLY has one of the smallest heads on a human being that I have ever seen.
Donnelly stays in to pitch the 7th.
He strikes out Jacque Jones on 4 pitches.
Jacque can have some of the ugliest swings you will ever see on a .300 hitter.
I think if Troy Percival got glasses/goggles like Donnelly or Ben Weber, his ERA would probably go up about a half run per game just because he would stop freaking batters out by squinting in to get the signs from the catcher before every pitch.
Guzman takes one for the team as he gets plunked by Donnelly.
Scott Schoeneweis is brought in to face Koskie.
I am glad to see Donnelly out of the game, he looked pretty good.
Schoeneweis bounces his first pitch and Molina makes yet another snap throw to first base.
Koskie fouls a pitch off of his leg/foot and falls to the ground as I have visions of Jermaine Dye in last year's playoffs dancing in my head.
Koskie ends the inning by flying out to Salmon in right field.
J.C. Romero and Latroy Hawkins begin the 8th warming up in the bullpen.
Mays strikes out Orlando Palmeiro, who was pinch hitting for catcher Bengie Molina.
Kennedy grounds out to Guzman and some moron from the crowd runs onto the field (although FOX doesn't show anything).
Joe Mays is shown shaking his head on the mound.
If he starts getting hit, I am blaming it all on the idiot who ran on the field.
Mike Scioscia just came out of the dugout and looks to be arguing that the guy was running onto the field while Mays was throwing the pitch that Kennedy made the out on.
Good luck with that argument Mike.
I am not a violent person, but with the incident in Chicago last month and everything, I hope security takes this guy somewhere and beats him to a bloody pulp.
Just a thought, by the way, did I mention I am not a violent person?
Mays has now retired 13 in a row after Eckstein grounds out to Guzman to end the 8th.
Bobby Kielty pinch hits for Ortiz against Schoeneweis and flies out to right field.
Eddie G is warming up in the pen, so it looks like Gardenhire isn't going to listen to me (again!).
Ben Weber comes into the game to face Hunter and strikes him out on a pinch in the dirt.
And we're heading to the 9th inning (please don't bring in Eddie, please don't bring in Eddie...).
Guardado is on the mound to start the 9th.
I would liked to have seen Mays at least start the 9th, more so because of how he was pitching than how Guardado pitched last game.
I probably would have let him start the 9th, had Eddie warmed and ready in the pen, and brought him in if/when someone reached base.
Steve Lyons: "For closers, you can throw the lefty/right matchups out the window."
Really Steve? How about we throw you out the window?
Eddie gets the first out of the inning against Darin Erstad.
So far, so good.
Salmon walks. Crap.
He is the first Anaheim batter to reach base since the 4th inning! (which is why I wanted to keep Mays in there)
Percival is warming in the pen.
A double play would be really nice here (with Garret Anderson up) so we could avoid Troy Glaus, who kills lefties (even though Mr. Lyons doesn't believe in that sort of thing).
Anderson flies out to shallow right field.
Glaus comes up with 2 down and a runner (Chone Figgins, who pinch ran for Salmon) on first base.
Quick check of Glaus' numbers against lefties just so I can be even more nervous...uh huh, just as I thought: .298/.389/.534 with 10 homers in 161 ABs.
Strike 1, fastball right by Glaus.
Strike 2, fastball fouled back.
Ball 1, fastball high and outside.
Strike 2 (#2), fouled back.
Strike 2 (#3), fastball fouled straight back.
Ball 2, pitch out. (a pitch out?!)
Ball 3, breaking ball low.
STRIKE 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! breaking ball called 3rd strike!
T-HHHHHHHHHH-UUUUUUUU-HHHHHH TWINS WIN!!!!!!!!
What a game!
Eddie gets the job done (not before making it "interesting") and the Twins take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Mays looked absolutely spectacular and he certainly proved me wrong.
He took advantage of the Anaheim hitters' aggressiveness by throwing strikes and letting them beat the ball into the ground (13 groundball outs).
I feel very confident with him starting game 5 (against Appier once again).
1 down, 3 to go.