Baseball is cool because you can pull out good things to celebrate even in the less-than-best of times.
That was the case Tuesday night when the Twins won in a must-win game for the first time in the last three days. Yes, there was the excellent comeback sparked by the pinch-hitters Thome and Mauer, and Nishioka somehow managing to bounce a Neftali Feliz fastball behind the pitcher's mound while batting left-handed.
Then Joe Nathan shut down the Texas order in the bottom of the ninth for the save.
I don't know where Nathan will be pitching in 2012, but it was nice to see him tie the Twins' record for career saves in the toughest spot a closer can face -- protecting a one-run lead against the heart of a lineup that hits the ball hard, deep and often.
We've seen the progression this season, from not-quite-healed frustration to solid-closer form.
I can't say that Nathan is 100 percent of the pitcher that he was before the Tommy John surgery. But he ended the game Tuesday with a smokin' fastball that followed biting sliders and a couple of looping curves.
I can say that in his last dozen games, Nathan has five saves, six holds and 10 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings, giving up six hits, hitting one batter and letting in one run.
I can't argue that Nathan is worth the $12.5 million that he would be paid next year if the Twins pick up his option. I don't think anyone can. Glen Perkins is in the process of earning a shot at that role for next season.
I can argue that a workable scenario would be for the Twins to pay the $2 million buyout and cut a new deal with Nathan, providing his last month of work is the real deal.
If he can get big money el$ewhere, we'll wish him well.
For now, it's nice to see him back.
That was an interesting and spirited conversation yesterday about my suggestion to blow up the Twins and prepare for the future. It's definitely worth a few minutes to go back and meander through the 160 comments. The quality of comments most of you bring to this blog is one of the reasons I like writing it so much.
One note: Someone emailed me about a comment that didn't show up on the website. I went to look and somehow it had been swallowed up at one end or the other.
However, I looked at the dozen or so other comments that had been removed from the site. I put back two and agreed with the decision to remove the others. Comments with links are always removed because of the chance, however small, that they're malicious. Name calling and personal attacks on other commenters are also good bets to get taken down. Referring to the moderators as Nazis also increases your chances of not getting to share.
A member of the extended Section 219 family is one of the moderators and, owing to a family situation, I filled in one night. I was pretty amazed at some of the stuff that people post around the entire web site. So I understand why a moderator can develop a quick finger on the "remove" button. The job can be like being a camp counselor after having too many Leinie's the night before.
You know how to find me if you have an issue.