September 30, 2008

Twins will have to earn it in Chicago

“Tomorrow, 162 games mean nothing. It’s only about one game and that’s great. A good feeling.” - White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen
The Tigers failed to knock the White Sox out of playoff contention last night, so the Twins will have to travel to Chicago to face the White Sox tonight. The winner of tonight's sudden death game will be heading to Tampa Bay to face the Rays on Thursday in game one of the ALDS. Last night, the White Sox came from behind 2-1 to beat the Tigers 8-2 off of Alexei Ramirez's game-winning grand slam in the 6th inning. Tigers reliever Gary Glover came in to relief with the bases loaded only to throw an absolute meatball to Ramirez who drove it to deep left field and Ramirez knew it was gone the moment it left the bat. Ramirez also known as the "Cuban Missile" now has 4 grand slams this season, in just his first year in the league.
“I told Ozzie to have confidence in me. I’m going to go out and get these runners home somehow,” he said.
Just how good of a pitch was it? Well a belt-high 89 MPH changeup over the middle of the plate is a pitch that I have confidence that Nick Punto could hit over the fence in the same situation.

Like I said, a meatball!

Besides Freddy Garcia, none of the Tigers really played with much intensity and looked to really have no care whether or not they lose the game. Armando Galarraga came in and threw 4 pitches and only one of them crossed the plate as a strike. He threw 2 wild pitches before being yanked. All in all the Tigers threw 4 wild pitches throughout the game, which in part had to do with Dusty Ryan's terrible defense behind the plate, but also due to the fact that the relievers were just really, really off.

The batters looked lethargic throughout the game, taking terrible whacks at balls in the dirt and not running to the bases as fast or eloquently as they should, in particular Miguel Cabrera doing his best impression of Manny Ramirez by jogging to second base on his double in the 6th inning.

The Twins could have avoided this situation entirely over the weekend winning just one more game against the Royals, however it didn't work out that way and the team is going to have to step up tomorrow because the White Sox certainly have played well in the last two games.

Southpaw John Danks will take the mound for the White Sox while Nick Blackburn will make the start for the Twins. This is easily the biggest game in either of their young careers, so it will be interesting to see how both of the players handle the pressure. Blackburn pieced together a good start last Wednesday against the White Sox, going 5 innings and giving up just 2 runs for the win. Danks on the other hand struggled mightily in his last start against the Indians on Friday lasting just 4 innings while giving up 7 runs for the loss.

In both of their careers, neither pitcher has fared very well against either team. Danks is 2-3 with a 6.88 ERA in 7 starts against the Twins. Blackburn isn't much better, sporting a 2-2 record in 5 starts (6 games) with a 5.28 ERA.

It should be a very interesting game with a lot on the line. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 CT on TBS.
  • Make sure to check out Seth Stohs latest podcast. Last night he had ex-Twins and current Rays reliever Grant Balfour on as well as myself. Let me just say that I ungracefully made myself sound like I was in fact hyped-up on NyQuil, which may be true, but not what I wanted listeners to hear. Still, make sure to check out the interview with Balfour as he talks about the Rays and the upcoming series against either the Twins or White Sox. Seth continues to do an acceptable job with these podcast's so make sure to tune in.
So that's it. Go big or go home tonight. Winner moves on to the playoffs, the losers go home with after a tough season. Make sure to tune in!