Thursday, April 14, 2005


Twins 8, Tigers 4

Kyle Lohse is a lightning rod for abuse from Twins fans online, a catalyst for our angst. Members of the Batgirl community have assigned him the dual personality of Kyle and his evil twin Lyle, in acknowledgment that he can be a force for good as well as an agent of the craptacular, but mostly when he's on the mound and will run into the first sign of trouble, we assume the worst.

Maybe he touches a nerve because we've seen stretches of brilliance from him, we know he has the stuff to be a solid pitcher if not an All-Star, and it's hard to figure why he can't consistently get it together. Or, maybe we just need our own personal whipping boys to absorb our angst so that we can still feel cheered by the rest of the team despite the fact that, in baseball, they're all going to fail us more often than not. If Luis Rivas did not exist, would I have to invent him?

Early tonight, Kyle had teeth gnashing again when he coughed up a home run to Brandon Inge, continuing the Twins starting rotation's streak of putting the team in a 1st inning hole; but the offense picked him up with 5 runs in the bottom of the inning, and Kyle held it. Last year he often had trouble dealing with such good fortune, and it seemed that he might give away a big lead again when he started the 2nd inning by yielding a double to Rondell White and an RBI single to Carlos Pena. But then he induced Craig Monroe to ground into a double play, struck out Marcus Thames, and that settled him. He and the team would coast to a fairly comfortable victory from there.

The Twins' early comeback got a rolling start with a pair of infield singles hit by Bartlett and the Chairman, and the engine ignited when Terry Tiffee doubled to rightfield to score the first run.

Here's hoping that Tiffee just kicked off the countdown towards roster sanity, when Cooter Miller gets his pat on the back and a ticket towards parts unknown. Joe Mauer says his knee is feeling fine; there have been no reports of soreness or inflammation since the season began. As long as the 4th OF is the DH and Morneau/Tiffee is playing 1st base, that leaves LeCroy available on the bench as an emergency Catcher just in case The Knee acts up. Tiffee tonight just framed a vivid illustration of his potential value to this team. Once Morneau returns, barring an unforeseen injury, is there any remaining reason to keep Fat Elvis on the roster?

Bear with me, I'm just excited to see Tiffee come up and make such an immediate impact. Shades of Lew Ford last year, when he was the last man cut in spring training because Gardy had priorities other than picking the best players for his OF reserves, but he got an opportunity to come up in the first week and flourished. Tonight Tiffee hit a double and a homer and drew a walk in 5 plate appearances, driving in 3 runs from the cleanup spot. Not bad for somebody who was in Rochester, New York, earlier in the day. Keep it up, fella. Don't even leave Gardy the option of sending you back down.

Most of the offense purred like a kitten tonight: Bartlett, Tiffee, and Mauer each had multiple hits in the #2-4 slots. Jacque Jones hit a 2-run blast over the baggy in the 1st inning; he and Torii Hunter each drove in 2 runs from the #5-6 slots. Lohse ran into some turbulance in the 6th inning, after the offense had staked him to a 7-2 lead, but left in good shape in the 7th with 1 out, a runner on 1st base, and a 7-4 lead. J.C. Romero struck out the only two batters he faced to put Lohse's night in the books, Juan Rincon struck out the side in a scoreless 8th inning, and Joe Nathan pitched around a couple hits to close out the win.

There should be no angst in Twinsville tonight. The team played with the confidence of champions; and if Dmitri Young hasn't received the message yet, perhaps a sweep tomorrow can drive the point home.

Brad William Radke, you're up. And I think you're due to get with the program.


At 4/14/2005 12:54 PM, Blogger SBG said...

In the best of all possible worlds, one can talk baseball with a reference to Voltaire.

At 4/14/2005 12:57 PM, Blogger SBG said...

Oh yeah, and I've been saying (but not writing) that Tiffee is this year's Lew Ford. The details match almost perfectly. Can you see Tiffee playing 3B and Cuddyer moving to second? Can you see a million dollar minor leaguer? I can, but probably only in my dreams.


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