2002 Playoffs: Twins vs A’s

Wow. That Twins-A’s game yesterday was about as good as it gets. I actually managed to watch the entire game virtually uninterrupted (except for a brief spot in the top of the fourth when Fox Family Channel disappeared for about two minutes). I’ll make a few quick observations, as someone who doesn’t follow either team (i.e., take them with the appropriate mountains of salt).

  • Cristian Guzman, Torii Hunter, and Doug Mientkiewicz all have reputations as stellar defenders, and from what I can tell, they’re all well deserved. That play Guzman made on the ball hit by Randy Velarde was spectacular. Hunter made a nice diving play earlier in the game. And I haven’t seen a right-handed thrower look as good at first base as Mientkiewicz since probably Andres Galarraga in his prime.
  • How come Guzman’s platoon splits aren’t greater than they actually are? The guy looks like Omar Moreno when he comes to the plate left-handed, but he appears to have a pretty good clue from the right side. He must beat out a lot of grounders to short.
  • Two defining at-bats: Bottom of the eighth, LaTroy Hawkins throws eight straight fastballs in the 96-98 MPH range to Miguel Tejada. Strikes him out to end the inning and preserve the Twins’ 2-1 lead. Top of the ninth. Flamethrower Billy Koch comes in to face rookie Dustan Mohr, brought in for defensive purposes the previous inning. Koch gets ahead in the count 0-2 but doesn’t put him away. Mohr draws a walk and promptly scores on A.J. Pierzynski’s homer to right.
  • Both teams battled like nobody’s business. After Pierzynski’s bomb, the cameras showed streams of people (can’t really call them fans) exiting the stadium. They then cut to the Twins locker room and showed the attendants preparing for the postgame celebration. All the while I’m thinking, this is the A’s. They’re a damn good team, and it’s way too early to count them out. Sure enough they almost came back and won it. But not this time. The Twins, I tell you, are a team of destiny.

I could go on, no doubt at great length, but at this point I’d rather turn things over to the Twins fans. Go check out Aaron’s Baseball Blog and Twins Geek. This is their day. Go read what they have to say about it all.

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