Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Mid-Tripleheader Stretch
2006-10-03 16:34
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I began but did not complete some involved previews of the playoff series this morning. Ultimately I think I realized that as much as you grind the numbers there's just no accounting for the unpredictable nature of short playoff series, and it's better to be seen as lazy than seen as stupid. Of course, I guess some people could still see me as both stupid and lazy, which is no good. I suppose I am in no position at this point to defend myself on either count, wearing as I am pajama bottoms with little penguins on them.

If I had tried to call either of the series beginning this afternoon, I would have been wrong on both counts. Johan Santana's start at home against the A's should have been the lockiest of locks, but then it wasn't. Frank Thomas is taking us back to 1993, when a little show called "The X-Files" made its debut and all America was getting down to the funky, funky beats of Naughty by Nature. The Twins offense was trying an abstract strategy to soften the turf between home and the mound at the Metrodome by flailing weakly at first and second pitches out of the strike zone all day. I don't know what to think about this game. Usually when Barry Zito is going to suck you can tell right away, but this game he kind of seemed like he did suck, only without allowing all the runs part. Of course given Oakland's recent history the larger their lead in the series, the more the pressure mounts.

The Cardinals-Padres game also had a surprising result, although unlike the entertaining matinee it was a real snoozer. The Mets having arrived in the postseason without a pitching rotation, can we just call the National League already? Just send everyone home with firm instructions to think long and hard about what they've done and try very hard to not be so terrible again next year. Having earlier implied that Chris Carpenter's ace status was thrown into question by his inability to keep St. Louis out of multiple extended tailspins this regular season, Carpenter went out and pitched effectively against a Padres team that suddenly looked a lot like the one that had no business being in the playoffs in 2005. Did it seem to anyone else that this game just didn't have a playoff feel to it? The Twins-A's game was loud; even a non-baseball fan who stopped by here during the broadcast commented on this. The new San Diego stadium sure looks pretty but those Southern California Padres fans may want to go back to the drawing board as far as their frenzy-building is concerned.

Free advice for the Twins: Don't pitch to Thomas. Free advice for San Diego: Don't pitch to Albert Pujols.

Alex Rodriguez has been dropped to sixth in the New York batting order for their game against the Tigers tonight. I don't know what to think of this. If he doesn't produce this postseason, and produce at like 2004 Carlos Beltran levels, is he as good as gone? I kind of would like to see him traded to the Cubs. It would be somehow karmically appropriate. The North Side of Chicago would be enveloped by an ever-growing cloud of emo that would extend as far north as Mackinac Island. A-Rod and A-Ram (Aramis Ramirez) would combine to form an axis of anti-clutchness from which light could not escape. I don't see how anybody who isn't a Cubs fan could be against this.

2006-10-03 18:02:47
1.   mehmattski
A-Rod doesn't wear enough eyeliner to be considered emo.

There, someone commented on your post :-)

2006-10-03 18:04:19
2.   Mark T.R. Donohue
Yeah, just you wait.
2006-10-03 18:06:38
3.   RIYank
Dude, you're getting comments.
2 And now you know about the brackets.
2006-10-03 18:20:12
4.   scarface
Mark, yeah, Zito kinda sucked in the 1st inning, but he was pretty good after that, wasn't he? Adapted perfectly to the Twins early-swinging ridiculously impatient style, and probable lack of scouting the opposition (Two Frank HRs!), I thought.

The Yanks game is going in pretty predictable fashion, btw.

2006-10-03 18:35:57
5.   Mark T.R. Donohue
4 It's nice to have some faith in the natural order of things restored. Even if it is by the Yankees.

The X-factor for Zito is always whether he can throw his curve for strikes. In the game this afternoon it didn't matter because if he managed to propel it at all forward the Twins hitters would extend their strike zones and hack at the curve. It's hard to say whether he ever mastered the pitch or not on the day. You can't argue with results, however.

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