October 10, 2002
All tied up
Before I give my thoughts on last night's game, let me first welcome everyone new that is coming here because of Simon Peter Groebner's article on StarTribune.com that mentions this site.
For everyone keeping count (probably just my mom and I) that is this site's first official mention in a mainstream media outlet.
So to all the new visitors, thanks for stopping by and I hope you like what you see.
If you do, please bookmark the page and come back often (we usually have at least 1 new article per day and sometimes a lot more).
Please feel free to check out some of my previous entries, all you need to do is go to the upper left hand corner of this page where it says "archive" and click on a period of time that you want to read entries from.
Thanks to Mr. Groebner for the mention and thanks to all the new readers for stopping by (and bookmarking the page!).
Okay, now to the baseball...
Well, last night's game wasn't quite as fun as game 1 (click here for my complete, play-by-play, recap of game 1).
Rick Reed gave up a homer to the second batter of the game, but managed to escape the first inning with no further damage.
Then in the second inning, some Anaheim hits and some shaky Minnesota defense led to 3 more Angel runs.
So, before the Twins had their first hit of the night, Anaheim was up 4-0.
For those you interested, I actually think that Adam Kennedy getting picked off of 1st base (and Scott Spiezio eventually scoring from 3rd) was a called play from Mike Scioscia, and if it wasn't, it should've been.
Reed gave up another homer in the 6th to make it 6-0 Anaheim.
And that was pretty much the ballgame, although the Twins did score 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th cut it to 6-3.
They couldn't get any closer, because the Anaheim bullpen was just awesome.
Brendan Donnelly, Francisco Rodriguez and Troy Percival combined for 2 2/3 innings in which they gave up only 1 hit and struck out 7.
I wrote an entry about Francisco Rodriguez during the Anaheim/New York series and what I said then still goes.
The kid is just FILTHY!
Smooth delivery, phenomenal fastball and a nasty slider.
The Twins plan with him last night seemed to be to go up there and take the first pitch or two.
It was not a horrible plan really, especially with a young pitcher that might have some control issues, but last night Rodriguez was pumping strikes and getting ahead of hitters, which enabled him to use his breaking stuff.
I am not really sure what the Twins should try to do with him.
From what I saw, it looks like he tends to throw a first pitch fastball to almost every batter, so they might be best served to just go up there hacking and try to drive his first pitch (which was usually right down the pipe).
Obviously much easier said than done, as I would assume it is tough to hit the first pitch from a guy who you haven't faced much before, especially when it is coming in at about 97 MPH.
The Twins were able to get quite a few hits (10 to be exact) off of Anaheim starter Ramon Ortiz, which is a good sign for when they face him later in the series.
They just cannot afford to get down 4 or 5 or 6 runs and try to come back, not against a bullpen like Anaheim's.
Now it is a best of 5 series and Anaheim has homefield advantage and a chance to end it at home with a 3 game sweep.
Obviously the Twins need to win 1 out of 3 in Anaheim in order for them to keep the series going.
I think that despite losing home field advantage, they are still in a very good position to win this series.
Game 3 is going to be very tough, with Jarrod Washburn going for Anaheim and Eric Milton for the Twins.
The Angels hit lefties very well and you never know what you are going to get with Milton since his injury.
Game 4 is the one the Twins have got to win.
They have their "ace" Brad Radke going against Anaheim's #4 guy, rookie John Lackey.
And game 5 is a rematch of game 1, Joe Mays versus Kevin Appier.
So, you have to like the Twins chances in that one.
If I sound optimistic, it's because I am.
A few notes...
Michael Cuddyer looks extremely rough around the edges in right field.
I think he is going to be a star in the Major Leagues with the bat and eventually a pretty good outfielder, but right now, in the playoffs, he scares me quite a bit out there.
His range is good, but he doesn't take great routes to the ball and his arm is strong but very eratic.
I haven't really talked much about the NL playoffs for a few days, mostly because I am pretty obsessed with the Twins right now, and I even forgot to write up my preview for the NLCS.
For those of you wondering, I picked the Giants in 7 because I think their offense is too strong, St. Louis' starting pitching isn't strong enough and, well, they have Superman on their team.
Speaking of which, he is putting on quite a show, hitting .316/.481/.895 so far (check out the "Bonds Playoff Tracker" on the left hand side of this page).
He isn't getting much of anything to hit, but when he does he is making the most of it.
And the guys behind him are driving him in when he gets walked, which is a key for the Giants.
Hmmm...a Twins/Giants World Series wouldn't sound so bad.
My favorite team versus my favorite player.
Did everyone see the "incident" with Kenny Lofton in last night's game?
What exactly is Kenny's problem?
The pitch in question was about 3 inches off of the plate and a little high.
He definitely needs to relax a little bit, especially considering he has done this sort of thing before (with a Randy Johnson slider).
And if he is going to get so upset when he thinks someone is throwing at him, he should probably stop posing at home plate when hits a homer that clears the fence by a few feet.
That said, I always enjoy anything that causes me to hear the words "and here come the relievers running in from the bullpen."
And it was fun to see Dusty Baker and Tony LaRussa have some words.
I think I would pick Dusty in that one, unless Tony knows some kind of karate.
Okay, that's enough rambling for now...
For those new visitors that weren't impressed by today's entry...um...I swear it is usually better than this.
Check out this entry or this entry or maybe this entry if you don't believe me!