Friday, April 4, 2008

First loss of season in hard-fought game

We knew it was going to happen sometime. It would've been nice to open a second series with a win, but the Twins proved better on this night. A few thoughts on the game:

  • Foiled by the suicide squeeze. What can you do but shake your head?

  • That last pitch that got Mark Teahen was not a strike. It was high and outside, and if you ask me, it wasn't really very close. Just a terrible call.

  • My friend K sent me a text message just now: "bull shit call - worst i have seen in awhile." I should mention here that while we joke about him being a White Sox guy because he's from Wheaton (and bleeds Cubbie blue), K actually claims the Royals as his second favorite team. True story. Oh yeah, he lives in Minneapolis.

    We'll take all the supporters we can get. My officemate (hereafter known as Astros Fan, or AF) you know about -- I converted him the other day. Joe Capron of MVN-White Sox came over to our side of the blogosphere yesterday to send his congratulations. And my roommate Cranston (we'll come back to him later in this post) has openly rooted for the Royals, and not just because I do.

    My point: this team is fun. They're young and exciting and play the game the right way. If you're a Kansas Citian and you can't get behind them, something's wrong with you.

  • How incredible has the bullpen been? Jimmy Gobble -- Mr. Cactoe himself -- struck out all three batters he faced tonight. A couple commenters to Joe Posnanski's Trey Hillman feature (recommended read) expressed skepticism before the season ("Has anyone seen our bullpen lately? Yikes!! He better keep teaching that team defense, because they'll get all the chances they can handle in the 6th, 7th, 8th & 9th"), but so far, after four games, the 'pen has been nothing short of dominant. Numbers: 10.2 innings, one run, five hits, one walk, 16 strikeouts. All this without appearances by the two big off-season acquisitions, Ron Mahay and Yasuhiko Yabuta.

    Just a thought: might Hillman be trying something outside-the-box here, rotating his relievers on a two/three-game ON, two/three-day OFF schedule? There will be small overlaps -- Leo Nunez pitched in games 2 and 3 but not 4, while Ramon Ramirez pitched in games 3 and 4 -- but I think we may be seeing a pattern here as far as when Hillman will use which relievers. If this theory holds, tomorrow Gobble, Mahay and Yabuta should be available, but not Ramirez and probably not Nunez (saving him for games 6, 7 and 8).

  • Believe the hype on Billy Butler.

I won't be posting tomorrow because I'll be performing duties as a groomsman in Cranston's wedding. If anyone has any advice, please send my way -- I haven't attended a wedding since 5th grade, when my 4th grade teacher (nee Ms. Firling) tied the knot. But Cranston: from all of us at IDWT, we'd like to wish you all the happiness and marital bliss due to a stand-up guy like yourself. And remember, if ever the situation arises that you're forced to choose between the wife and baseball -- say, your beloved Red Sox -- choose the lady. For the first couple of months, at least.

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