April 7, 2004
The Twins had yet another come-from-behind, extra-inning win last night, defeating the Indians 7-6 in 15 innings. Any win is a good win, but last night's game was not particularly enjoyable for a number of reasons:
1) The game was not on TV (more on this in a second).
2) Joe Mauer hurt his knee in the third inning and left the game.
3) Johan Santana hurt his left forearm and left the game after four innings.
4) Torii Hunter hurt his right hamstring in the 11th inning and left the game.
5) After using five relievers for a total of five innings in their first game, the Twins used seven relievers for 10 innings last night.
Those five things, taken together, are an example of winning the battle while losing the war, I suppose.
In particular, the combination of injuries to Santana and Mauer is really depressing. Last night's game was to be the first of about...oh, I dunno, let's say 300 games of the Joe Mauer-Johan Santana battery. The best catching prospect in the world and one of the brightest young pitchers around, teaming up for the very first time. It lasted a total of three innings.
I am most concerned about Santana. He apparently was experiencing muscle spasms in his left forearm, which sounds really scary to me. At the end of last year, Santana had problems with cramping in his legs and he spent much of last season fighting through bone chips in his elbow, which he had removed during the off-season. And now he's got a spastic forearm.
Not much to do or say, except to wait and see. The early word is that Mauer's injury and Hunter's injury are fairly minor, but knee injuries to catchers are worrisome and hamstrings can be lingering problems. Meanwhile, I'd be shocked if Santana was ready to go for his next start, but I obviously don't know enough to make that anything beyond a wild guess based on little, if anything.
With a history of leg-cramping, a surgically-repaired elbow and a forearm that is going nuts, there's no doubt that Santana is going to seem like a ticking time-bomb to myself and most Twins fans all year.
That is, of course, if we ever get to see him pitch. As I mentioned above, last night's game was not on TV. And today's game won't be either.
The Twins started a new TV channel, Victory Sports, and have yet to negotiate deals with the major cable and satellite providers locally. That means most Twins fans are without the ability to watch their team play, even if they're like me, and they have DirecTV with the MLB Extra Innings package (how ironic is it that I can watch the Tigers, Pirates or Brewers 100 times each, if I want, but I can't see my beloved Twinkies?).
There is nothing worse than listening to a 15-inning game on radio, while three of your team's star players go down with injuries and the bullpen gets completely used up. Well, I guess there's one thing worse: doing all that and then losing the game.
For the Twins fans out there who feel my pain, you'll want to head over to The Hardball Times, where there is an interview I did with Victory Sports president Kevin Cattoor posted.
Here's the link:
Philadelphia (Wolf) -150 over Pittsburgh (Benson)
New York (Trachsel) +150 over Atlanta (Hampton)
San Francisco (Williams) +175 over Houston (Clemens)
Colorado (Jennings) +170 over Arizona (Webb)
Chicago (Loaiza) -115 over Kansas City (May)
Texas (Lewis) +210 over Oakland (Zito)
Total to date: $355
W/L record: 5-4 (1-0 yesterday for +100, hopping on the Schilling bandwagon early.)
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