Talkin’ Baseball: Tigers at Twins (AL playoff)

The finality of these one-game playoffs breeds the tension and excitement. On the surface, the Twins carry all the momentum and the Tigers are reeling. It’s the second straight year in which the Twins needed a playoff, with last year saw them losing 1-0 at Chicago.

Twins roll into playoffs.

Twins roll into playoffs.

Few could see this happening a month ago when the Twins trailed Detroit by seven games. A week later, they lost All-Star Justin Morneau to a season-ending back injury and most thought their chances were cooked. And, just last week, they were three down with four to play.

While the Tigers went 11-15 down the stretch, the Twins won 16 of 20 and four straight to force the extra game. They are kind of like the roll the Colorado Rockies were on in 2007. The winner of today’s game gets the Yankees, who had the option of having until after today’s game to decide whether to open the ALDS Wednesday or Thursday.

Tigers stagger into playoffs.

Tigers stagger into playoffs.

Gamesmanship all the way, they chose tomorrow, giving today’s winner no chance to catch its breath.

“Everybody wrote off the Twins, it seems like, a long time ago, especially when Morneau went down,” said Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon. “A team needs to keep fighting and they’ve been one of those special teams for a long time. It seems like they don’t give up. That’s the great thing about baseball. You never know.”

The one thing we do know about today’s game is it will be loud.

My plan is to blog as much of the postseason as I can, and that begins today. I don’t have a favorite in this game. The consensus seems to be Detroit has a better chance to unseat the Yankees than Minnesota.

73 thoughts on “Talkin’ Baseball: Tigers at Twins (AL playoff)

  1. A report out of Atlanta said the Braves might consider dealing Derek Lowe. Wow, that comes as a surprise. If Lowe is traded, he has the right to demand to be a free agent after 2010. The Braves have strong pitching and might get some power by dealing Lowe. Of course, don’t count on him coming to the Mets.-JD

  2. Hi John –
    I don’t really have a favorite here, but I chose Detroit today for a different reason.

    The NFL has blacked out all their Detroit games because of low ticket sales – and so, the Detroit football fans are without their weekly games on TV.

    If Detroit wins today, at least the fans -baseball and otherwise – will be able to see their Detroit Tigers on TV and cheer for them as long as they are in the playoffs.

  3. Yesterday morning I posted a thread on rejecting Bobby Valentine as the next manager of the Mets. There were a lot of thoughtful and well-written responses. I invite you to read that post if you hadn’t and reply here.-JD

  4. Sorry, everyone. I just posted a comment under the wrong topic. I’m watching the Twins — as I have been all of last week — take on the Tigers. I see the drunken wife-beater is on base for the Tigers…

  5. 2 Annie: As sorry as the Lions are, I’m sure there are plenty of Detroiters very happy to see another NFL team’s games televised instead.

  6. C’mon now JD…we all know that you are rooting for the Twins because the Yankees will have an easier time with them over the Tigers….c’mon…you can admit it. 😉

  7. I didn’t endorse the Mets signing Lowe to the contract the Braves signed him to, and I certainly don’t endorse him coming over now. Lowe had an awful season.

  8. 8 I don’t think we’ll have to worry about acquiring Derek Lowe. Why would the Braves trade him to bottom feeders within their division? And what could the bottom feeders possibly offer in return?

  9. I think broadcasting Detroit Lions games is a violation of the Geneva Convention. But then I lived in Rochester in the late 1970s and people complained about having to watch Buffalo Bills games because they were in the market.
    I want to see a Minnesota vs Colorado World Series just to give the TV networks fits. I also remember when the Yankees lost to Cleveland in 1997, some local newspaper writer complained about how the Cleveland vs Baltimore LCS had nothing interesting to offer. It turned out to be pretty good. Armando Benitez blew a game, right?

  10. Steve (7): Sorry, no. Don’t really care who wins. And, the Yankees are incidental. I don’t see the Yankees getting the WS anyway. Their pitching isn’t strong enough.-JD

  11. Benitez actually lost two games and gave up the winning hit with the loss credited to Mills. Perfect clutch performance that caused Steve Phillips to acquire him the following year (although Phillips was faced with HAVING to trade Todd Hundley who was coming off an injury).

  12. Is Chip Caray’s “yukking” getting on anyone else’s nerves? All the over-enunciating? Just a second ago, after Curtis Granderson made that routine catch in center, Caray let loose with an overly dramatic, “HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE’s GOT IT!”

  13. 1. Id do Lowe for Ollie. We take your bad contract, you take ours. We pay one more year. It looks like Wolf was the steal of the winter.

  14. Ray: If you’re Atlanta, why in the world do you make the deal you proposed? Why would Atlanta hurt themselves to help the Mets?

  15. 18. Because Ollie is young and has “Upside”,
    and you only have to pay him 2 years instead of 3. I just threw that trade off the cuff, but actually it may make sense. The Mets need to win next year and with Lowe you know what to expect. That said, I dont remember the last time these two teams completed a trade.

  16. Ray (20): You are right about what you’re saying about Perez. Maybe McDowell would be just the pitching coach to reach him. It could still happen.-JD

  17. Speaking of my my man, Wolf is going into the free agent pool again if the Dodgers dont lock him up. His 3.27 ERA and lack of injury makes him very attractive.

  18. 22. JD, there you go. Maybe Ollie just needs an offbeat coach to reach his wavelength. 😀

  19. 20 Ray: Ryan Church for Jeff Francouer was the last time the Braves and Mets made a deal. Upside isn’t anywhere good enough of a sales pitch to any team trade for a damaged goods head case that Ollie has become. You’d have to be the greatest con artist of all time to convince the Braves to make a Lowe-for-Ollie deal.
    Hell, you’d have to be a helluva con artist to convince ANY team to take on Ollie and his contract and get anything of value uin return.

  20. Why in the world didn’t Gardenhire use Nathan to START this inning for a two-inning save?

  21. 28 Gil, Doh !! Well they took a concussion trauma headcase platoon outfielder in his 30’s and gave us a pretty good player in his mid twenties. You never know. Not having to pay the last year of a sliding downhill pitcher is a pretty good incentive.

  22. Looking up Nathan’s game logs he has only one two inning and one 1.1 inning appearance all year. But sometimes you have to ask more out of your stars and this was one of those times.
    Nathan couldn’t get three inning save in the 2004 ALDS game and maybe Gardenhire had that in mind. Joe Beningo on WFAN ripped him for that. But sometimes you gotta follow Yogi and think “if you are going to get beat, get beat with your best.”

  23. maybe i will watch the post season.

    i have been watching the mets for the past few years and i must say they do not know how to play.

    it is the management who cant get the players and the coaches who cant coach.

  24. There’s a tenseness with baseball you don’t get with any other sport. This is a beauty. I don’t want it to end. Neither do the Yankees. MLB should have forced them to start the ALDS on Thursday.-JD

  25. Just thought of one advantage teams have in Game 163 that they don’t during the playoffs…they’re not limited to using just 25 players, as they can use all 40 men.

  26. 48 Sure there was tension at Citi this year: Every time Luis Castillo seemed to settle under a popup, every time J.J. “Damaged Goods” Putz, Sean “And You Thought Aaron Heilman Sucked” Green or Oliver Perez took the mound and every time David Wright had two strikes on him in a clutch situation.

  27. Wow. Delmon Young just pulled a move from the Mets outfield defense playbook by throwing to the wrong base.

  28. OK, so how would the Mets just have botched that nice play that Nick Punto just made?

  29. Gil (53):

    1) The ball gets through into center and a couple of runs score.
    2) A wild throw to the plate.
    3) He goes for the DP and doesn’t get it.-JD

  30. What a BALLSY pitch by Keppel! A hard sinker on 3-2 with the bases loaded with the potential go-ahead run on third? Damn!

  31. 54 You got that right, JD.
    This game is really starting to remind me of the Greatest Game Ever Played. You know the one…Astrodome, 1986…

  32. 58 As a Mets fan, I gotta be biased. That NLCS Game 6 was the greatest game I’ve ever witnessed. Six hours of pure tension.
    I might pick WS Game 7 in 1991 as No. 2.

  33. AWESOME!!!! And former Met Carlos Gomez scores the winning run and former Met Bobby Keppel wins it!

  34. Oh…and another thing…Alexei Casilla, the youngster whose development pushed the Twins to trade Luis Castillo to the Mets, gets the game-winning hit.

  35. The bottom of the 16th in 1986 NLCS Game 6 was about as tense as I ever got..waiting to see if Jesse Orosco could find a way to blow it. The Twins front office have to be the best in developing young players and keep in contention despite being Medium size market/cheap owner. It helps being in the AL Central. The good Cabrera advances on..should Orlando be labeled a “all he does is win” player?

  36. 64 And isn’t it interesting, Dan, that the Twins traded one of the best pitchers in baseball before ’08 and ended up being better two years in a row than the team they traded him to?

  37. Yes, although part of that is Maurer maturing into the best player in the American League. I’m sure the Twins are happy they drafted Maurer instead of the unsignable Mark Prior.

  38. wonder if the tigers will get tagged with chokers label like mets. Metsfans are the most negative in sports as anybody whos been around will attest. this has been true for a long time.

  39. John (60) This game will go down in my history book as one of the best games I’ve ever seen – and I saw it from beginning to end. Simply, a Classic now and forever.

  40. (67) Keppel was actually a high draft pick — probably 36th overall, rather than 36th round.