And That Happened: AL Central Playoff Edition

Twins 6, Tigers 5: You didn’t know it you didn’t think it could be done in the final end they won the war. After losing every battle.

Greatest game in Metrodome history? With all apologies to Chris I’m inclined to say no, simply because I don’t equate high drama with greatness. There were all manner of screwups in this game. They kept things close, but that doesn’t define greatness as far as I’m concerned. On the one hand you can say “Wow! What an incredible game!” On the other hand you can say “Man, a lot of sloppy play, a lot of missed opportunities, and hoo-boy a bad call by the ump made a big difference.” Though the more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to believe that those things aren’t mutually exclusive. Whatever: what an incredible, sloppy game!

From the end of this thing the Twins had 21 hours until the first pitch in the Bronx. After burning though eight pitchers and a hundred different emotions. Against a team who ran the table against them this year. It’s hard not to root for Minnesota going forward, but I wouldn’t put a ton of money on them.

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Comments

  1. Greg Simons said...

    I’m rooting for the Twins.  And the Angels and Rockies.  But I really couldn’t care less who wins those series, as long as the Cardinals win theirs.

  2. Kelly said...

    The home plate umpire was awful most of the game – and it really is too bad he blew it and cost the Tigers a run but I assumed he was going to cost someone at some point.

    Definitely not the most incredible game ever.  But certainly fun and never-say-die-ish.

    And I think next year, they should just let the Yankees pick who they want to play in the postseason.  We should make it as easy as possible for them—they need the help, right?

    Anyway, I would say it would be impossible for the Twins to win this but then again, if you told me that the Twins would be here because ALEXI CASILLA batting in the DH SPOT drove in the game winner, I would have put my house against it, so baseball is fun.  The end.

    /exhausted in Minnesota

  3. MikeS said...

    My favorite Caray’ism:

    “Will this be the last regular season 9th inning ever in the metrodome?”

    Unless they decide to play the ninth inning twice tonight it will.

  4. Ben2009 said...

    Craig, to which hoo-boy bad call are you referring?  I assume it’s the fact that Casilla was safe at home after having slid around the tag and slipped his hand in.

  5. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I was thinking of the Inge non-HBP. The Casilla call was wrong too, I think, but it was pretty bang-bang, and I’ve seen that call go that way a lot before. He just whiffed on Inge.  And of course, the strike zone was atrotious.

  6. Chris H. said...

    Some questionable management as well.  It’s the 9th inning, and you have a man on first with no outs.  Span (hitting .311/.392/.415) is called upon to…SACRIFICE BUNT!

    Gahhh.  If I was the GM, I would’ve halted the game right there and fired Gardenhire for gross stupidity.

    And Chip…Chip’s special.  That “last 9th inning” remark was classic Chip.  My favorite from his tenure as the Cubs’ play-by-play guy: “Adam Dunn is the kind of hitter that, when he doesn’t make contact, he struggles.”

  7. Ben2009 said...

    I guess, as the umpires explained to Jeter this season, the rule really is that if the ball beats you on a non-force-out play, you’re out.

  8. Andy H. said...

    I thought Granderson was safe on the double play in the 9th, but I don’t know because TBS never really showed a decent reply.

  9. Joe said...

    Speaking of managers, it’s too bad for the Tigers that Leyland couldn’t find anybody other than Gerald Laird to bat with two outs and runners in scoring position in the 8th inning….and the 10th inning….and the 12th inning….

  10. Rob² said...

    Speaking of Leyland, what the hell was he expecting Rodney to do in the 12th?  Even the TBS guys could see he wasn’t throwing fastballs anymore.

    He had 19(!) pitchers on his roster, and yet he couldn’t find one to relieve a guy who hasn’t pitched more than two innings in over a year and hasn’t thrown more than 35 pitches in a single outing all season?

  11. Aarcraft said...

    I disagree on the Casilla play. I think Laird got him on the shoulder right before his hand touched – it was close, could have gone either way. The HBP was clearly wrong, but I’m fine with it. I hate than a hit jersey counts as a hit batter.

  12. Tim F. said...

    The Tiger’s deserved to take the lead in that game because Inge got hit in his baggy shirt?  I guess technically yes, but to point to this as to why the Tigers are going home is weak, IMO.  I doubt the spirit of the rules took into account the trend of baggy clothing.  Especially when earlier in the game, Huff’s pant leg got brushed by a pitch which lead to a run.

    Like I said, technically yes, but if that’s the huge gripe that cost the Tigers a win, I’m finding it hard to have any sympathy.  Although I’m sure I’d be on the other side if I wasn’t a Twins fan.

  13. Hojo said...

    Casilla was out. End of story. Yes, Inge DID get HBP, but I agree with Aarcraft that I don’t like the jersey counting. The ball has to actually hit you. Anything close and you stay in the box.

    I thought the strike zone, while bad, was fairly consistent for the first 8 innings or so.

    I said this to a million other Tiger fans last night and I’ll say it again here, Leyland was sticking with his best bullpen arm. I’m convinced that if the Tigers had won this game that nobody would say anything about Rodney pitching 3+ innings.

  14. scatterbrian said...

    Agreed Tim F. I wouldn’t say it was a bad call. Denkinger’s was a bad call. I think this was just a missed call, which may not seem any different to some of you. But how many of you *knew* the ball hit Inge watching live? I’m not even sure it was definitive in the first slo-mo replay. Looked like the ball grazed his jersey, but that’s really hard to detect a 94 mph pitch grazing a jersey in real-time.

    If I’m a Tigers fan, I’m not looking at this as the reason the team lost. I’m looking squarely at Gerald Laird’s 10 (TEN!) runners left on base.

  15. Ian said...

    “Tim F. said…
    The Tiger’s deserved to take the lead in that game because Inge got hit in his baggy shirt?  I guess technically yes, but to point to this as to why the Tigers are going home is weak, IMO.  I doubt the spirit of the rules took into account the trend of baggy clothing.”

    Tim – I’m pretty sure that the uniforms were a lot baggier when this rule was created in 1887 – please check some archived photos for evidence.  It’s a rule…weak or not.  Just like Granderson was not doubled off 1st base (he was safe), which would have brought Cabrera up with two on and two out.  Just like the pitch that Polanco struck out on was not a strike – pitchtrax showed it a foot inside – with runners on the corners just before Magglio lined into the faux-double play.  Twins were jobbed more often with the meandering strike zone by the umpire, but I’m not convinced at all that Casilla was safe…I thought he was out via the replays, but I did have my Tigers glasses on.  All told, it was the craziest game I’ve ever seen, and it was a devastating loss.  Kudos to the Twins, but it’s awful whenever an umpire plays that big a role in the game.

  16. smsetnor said...

    Good game, but failed to hold my attention as I watched in a bar.  So probably not to be considered great.

  17. Ben2009 said...

    Hojo said: “Casilla was out. End of story.”

    Way to argue your point Hojo.  Casilla was out because the ball beat him?  Or because the ump called him out, so he must have been out?  Or because he should have tagged up better so he deserved to be called out?

    None of those are a reason to be out, of course.  Only question is whether Casilla got his hand in before Laird tagged him.  He clearly did.  The Inge play wouldn’t matter if the ump had gotten the Casilla call right.

  18. nu46 said...

    The game was a great game, yes it was sloppy but overall a very entertaining game. I am a Detroit Tigers fan but they didnt have enough talent to win the series, they just lost to a better team period. The tigers need to go train at EFT Sports Performance, to become stronger, faster, more powerful, more explosiveness and an overall better team http://www.eftsportsperformance.com They need to start all over and go back to basics. Thats the true essence of great teams

  19. Aarcraft said...

    Ben2009

    I watched the same replays, and it was not so clear to me. I saw Laird tag him, on the shoulder, just before his hand slid in. Now, I could be wrong, but the play was not as clear as you are making it sound.

  20. sansho1 said...

    My favorite moment was when Ron Darling made a reference to Dag Hammarskjold.  I like to think he did it just to see if Chip Caray could play off it whatsoever.  He could not.

  21. Simon DelMonte said...

    When your park played host to a 1-0 extra inning seventh game of the World Series, how can anything else possibly be a better game?  Especially if you agree with me that Game Seven of the 1991 World Series was the single best game played anywhere during the Metrodome era.

  22. Chuck said...

    What do Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez have between their ears, cotton candy?

    And what game was Chip Caray watching? With Nick Punto batting, “line drive, base hit”. That Raburn then catches in the air before gunning out the dazed and confused Gomez.

    A blind person listening to Caray doing a game would not get a terribly accurate account of what was happening. He cares far too much about drama and far too little about accuracy.

  23. Matt in Toledo said...

    That was Casilla getting thrown out at home, I believe. Chip Caray’s call was dreadful, though. Is it me, or should a national broadcaster not be saying that a team needs to get a man on and hit a home run to take the lead?

  24. YankeesfanLen said...

    Ah, yes, Kevin S. it is more than hard to root for the Twins, I would say it was impossible. Listening on the radio the game sounded sloppy to me and the fiddly-fart pitching changes seemed to make it a cross between a mediocre 2-1 NL game with the time the length of a 15-13 Yankees win over Boston.
    Poor Tigers and they wanted to be our ALDS opponents.

  25. lar said...

    I agree. It was a great game – exciting, fun to watch (in most parts). But the constant pitching changes and intentional walks made some of it incredibly annoying to watch (I’m in favor of the intentional walk, but, you know, try earning your victory every now and then). I think the biggest thing, though, was that absolutely atrocious strikezone by the umpire. Not only did he ruin chances for both teams with terrible calls, but he made the batters swing at nearly every single pitch because they had no clue what it’d be called.

    Still, there was a lot of exciting moments and it was fun to watch. Congrats to the Twins and their fans.

  26. Rob² said...

    Not to harp on the announcers too much, but think of how awful it would have been had Casilla been safe.  Would Caray’s blown call on the Punto drive be the soundtrack to that game?

    And what was with his insistence on the redemption storyline?  He made the point with Rayburn, then after Casilla gets the hit that wins the game, Caray says he didn’t tag up properly earlier.

    These people have watched a baseball game before, right?

  27. Jason B said...

    I think the umpires from the “Bases Loaded” game on the old NES were presiding (YUK, BUM, BOO, and DUM).

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