The Minnesota Twins had everything right where they wanted. They were playing division rivals, Kansas City, at home in their little ballpark with a chance to really make a statement. The Royals were ripe for collapse, on the ropes and gasping. The Twins won the first game. So far...so good. Then they lost last night in a good pitching duel. No problem. Win Saturday and the Twins would still make a statement. They even had Jose Lima starting for the Royals as he is going in the Lima direction shown the last three seasons of his major league career.
And true to form, they whacked Lima around for ten hits in four innings. The trouble was that they only scored three runs. Ten hits to score three run? In four innings? That's 2.25 baserunners per inning and managed only three runs? They only knocked three more hits for the final five innings and didn't score any more runs. The Royals won 4-3. When the chips are on the line and the contenders are rushing towards September, you have to have a guy step up and get the big hit. The Twins just haven't had that guy.
You have to wonder if the 7-0 start was as good as it will get for Lima. It was fun while it lasted, but it was too good to be true. Well, it was true, but it was too good to last.
Three other teams that are staggering in this pennant race are the Marlins, the Mariners and the Astros. Seattle's lead over Oakland is down to two games even though the A's are only playing .500 ball the last two weeks.
The Marlins could have zoomed by the Phillies as the Phillies sat on the wildcard lead despite loss after loss. The Marlins have now lost five straight. They have pitched fairly well but have stopped hitting. All the losing by the wildcard leaders means that the Diamondbacks are slithering back into the race. I'm a Fan more than I am anything else and I'd rather see brown shoes at a formal occasion than see the Diamondbacks winning the wildcard.
The Red Sox have responded to adversity and beat the Mariners again today. The win was not pretty as their closer, Kim, again looked shaky in the last inning and allowed the Mariners to tie the game. But Kim and Mike Timlin held the Mariners there and the Red Sox put it away in the bottom of the tenth.
Now that the Yankees have lost two straight and are now leading the Red Sox by "only" five games, I wonder if Steinbrenner will start calling the red phone again. The man has the patience of a sled dog in Florida.
And finally tonight, the Fan sends condolences to the Bonds family as Bobby lost his battle today and died. Though I never did get over you coming to the Yankees at the expense of my Bobby Murcer, you were a good man and a great talent and gave us the best player of our generation. Rest in peace, Bobby B.