Scott Baker was batted around like a play mouse full of catnip pretty much right away Wednesday night. He failed to hang onto the 6-1 lead dished out by Jim Thome, Luke Hughes and company, off Tigers starter Max Scherzer, which resulted in an 11-6 come-from-behind whoopin' by Detroit.
Brandon Inge went deep off Baker to kick off a four-run fourth inning, which seemed like it was never going to end. Then, after a leadoff double to start the fifth, the battered right-hander was replaced by Alex Burnett, who's got the skills to pay the bills when it comes to taking care of inherited runners. Fast forward to one on and one out in the sixth, when Burnett was replaced by Ron Mahay, who was asked to retire fellow lefty Johnny Damon.
Before you knew it, an incredibly animated Ron Gardenhire was getting tossed after some crazy nonsense went down out in center involving Denard Span and a nice running catch that somehow turned into an error. Then Pat Neshek threw like eight balls in a row before finally nailing Miguel Cabrera to force in the tying run... then Jesse Crain... okay I'll just stop there, you get the idea.
The obvious bright spot of the game was Hughes' adorable ear-to-ear grin. In the second inning, Delmon Young totally blew it on the base paths, interrupting the 25-year-old Australian's super special, first big league at bat when he was caught trying to swipe third base for no apparent reason. Luckily, Hughes was able to get back down to business in the top of the third, earning his first and only major league hit by smashing a 92 mph fastball over the right field wall for a home run.
A young lady tossed it back onto the field among a chorus of boos, but Magglio Ordonez -- oblivious to the baseball's significance -- lobbed it back into the stands to some children, whose parents made them throw it back to Ordonez, who returned the souvenir to its proud and rightful owner.
I hope those kids at least got a sno cone or something. Or maybe they'll get to skip school today and head on back to Comerica Park at 12:05pm to watch the Tigers take on Carl Pavano, who is 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA in six career starts against Detroit.
Meanwhile, the Motor City Kitties will send Dontrelle Willis to the mound. His two seasons in the American League were marred by anxiety disorder, having tossed just over 75 innings in 17 starts since 2008. The lefty has faced the Twins only twice in his career (one start) so only Thome and Orlando Hudson -- two former National Leaguers -- have more than a handful of at bats against him. While Jim Jam might not be bragging about his .148 average and 12 whiffs against D-Train, Hudson has managed to go 4-for-10 with a homer and 4 RBI off 2003's NL Rookie of the Year.
Anyway, since that whole deal was kinda long, I'll only throw a few interesting baseball links your way this morning.
- What does Target Field's Kirby Puckett statue remind you of?
[That's Twins Baseball]
- The Tribe is the most hated team in all of baseball... really?
[Waiting for Next Year]
- Watch out Nicky, Luke Hughes is gaining on you!
[Vegetarian Piranha: the Story of Nick Punto]
- A look at some of the surprising slow starts around baseball.
- Chester Taylor, who no one around here likes anymore, mangles Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Wrigley Field. [The Viking Age]
- Thursday (Gardy's ejection and philosophy) edition: Wha' happened?
Feel free to give me a heads-up on a website, blog or event that you think the readers of Sooze! (hands-down the most awesome readers and commenters in the universe) would like to see linked here by sending me a love letter... or hate mail... or simply by leaving a comment below.
Last, but certainly not least, this Sportscenter ad featuring Tim Lincecum cracks me up. I already posted this on BLB this morning, but it's funny and seriously, who doesn't love this kid? Besides Dodgers fans, I guess.
As usual, I'd love to hear your thoughts on last night's debacle along with any thoughts you may have on this afternoon's rubber match. Will the Twins get their seventh consecutive series victory today?
Also, assuming you give a hoot about the MLB All-Star Game, what's up with the rule changes for 2010? First of all, every team will use a designated hitter from now on, whether they like it or not. Since this year's contest will be hosted by the Angels in Anaheim, the new DH rule won't affect anything until 2011 when the Arizona Diamondbacks host the game at Chase Field, where they despise designated hitters. Either way, excellent news for Manny Ramirez.
Second, a guy can't participate in the All-Star game if he pitched the Sunday before, even if he feels awesome. Then, there's the expansion of rosters from 33 to 34 players, just in case things get all over-managey and the only person left to replace the injured shortstop is the bat girl. God forbid this thing ends in a tie.
Yes, the annual exhibition game will still decide who is blessed with home field advantage during the World Series. Your thoughts?