Athletics-Twins, ALDS Game 2 Chat
by Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 6:59

I was planning not to watch yesterday’s game at all, but as game time approached, a strange zen-like calm descended upon me. The nervousness I usually suffer during A’s playoff games left me, and I was able to watch the fabulous pitching duel between Johan Santana and Barry Zito with great pleasure. For about two hours, anyway.

The best thing about yesterday’s playoff games is that all the games were decided by great players making great plays: Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Cris Carpenter, Johan Santana, Frank Thomas, Barry Zito. Any sport is at its best when its best players rise to the occasion when it counts the most.

How much money do you think free-agent-to-be Barry Zito earned with yesterday’s performance? $10 million? He’s already the most durable pitcher in baseball (he’s never missed a start), with a Cy Young award under his belt. And now he can add “can outduel the best pitcher in baseball in a playoff game on the road” to his resume. Scott Boras went to bed last night a happy man.

This game was a great example of why Zito is a much better pitcher in 2006 than he was back in, say, 2003. Back then, he was strictly a three-pitch pitcher, and if one of his pitches was off, he had no way to adjust. Since then, Zito has added a slider and a cutter. When his command of a pitch is off, he has plenty of other options for attacking a batter. Yesterday, his fastball wasn’t particularly sharp, but he still got batters out, by throwing his fastball out of the zone, and mixing in some changeups, sliders and curveball with masterful effect.

Santana was similarly masterful. The dude is awesome. He will, however, give up the occasional long ball. Which leads us to Frank Thomas. What else can you say about Frank Thomas? He is THE MAN.

So it was a beautiful day for baseball, with one exception. Which was exactly the sort of thing I had feared about facing the Twins: that great baseball would be ruined by bad architecture. In the ninth inning, the Metrodome decided to insert itself into the proceedings and score a run for the Twins, as Milton Bradley lost a fly ball in the roof.

I flipped out. I ranted. I shouted. I screamed in horror. I think I punched a wall for good measure. Thankfully, my wife stepped in and restored calm in the Arneson household, by ejecting me from the ballgame. I spent the rest of the game exiled in the kitchen.

Huston Street closed out the victory without me, and the A’s have a 1-0 lead in the series. We A’s fans know not to get too excited about that, though.

So here comes Game 2: Esteban Loaiza vs. Boof Bonser. Do I dare test the Metrodome fates, and watch the game again?

Today’s Lineups:

Oakland Athletics
J. Kendall c
M. Kotsay cf
M. Bradley rf
F. Thomas dh
E. Chavez 3b
J. Payton lf
N. Swisher 1b
M. Scutaro ss
M. Ellis 2b

Minnesota Twins
L. Castillo 2b
N. Punto 3b
J. Mauer c
M. Cuddyer rf
J. Morneau 1b
T. Hunter cf
R. White lf
J. Tyner dh
J. Bartlett ss

Comments: 157
1.   Aaron in RF
2006-10-04 07:53

1.  Bill King always referred to that monstrosity as a "facility," a fitting sobriquet if ever there was one.

I was chatting with a guy who spent time in Minn. when they had an actual ballpark; he said it was quite nice and that the weather was fine during baseball season. Too bad that had to be sacrificed to the football gods.

2.   Bob Timmermann
2006-10-04 08:34

2.  Again I am sure the text message updates on my phone will be scintillating.

3.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 08:44

3.  Please let this not be the day that the Twins figure out that the best way to pitch Frank Thomas is to send him four wide ones.

4.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 09:51

4.  Can we fire Kruk and Phillips and keep Eric Byrnes and Vernon Wells? Throw Gammons along those two, and BBTN is watchable again.

5.   BlueMamma
2006-10-04 10:02

5.  would it have made a difference to the game if milton hadn't lost track of the ball? looked like it bounced off the wall pretty high up.

6.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 10:03

6.  I think it hit the warning track before bouncing up off the wall.

7.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 10:15

7.  He would have at least had an opportunity to make a play on the ball.

Joe Morgan should be prohibited from commenting on most parts of the game, but he was right about how annoying the Metrodome roof can be.

8.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 10:15

8.  I hope Boof pitches like he did in the game I saw him pitch against the A's in June -- which is to say, several mistake pitches that the A's turned into souvenirs.

9.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 10:16

9.  He didn't look that bad through the first half.

10.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 10:17

10.  Well that was a good start for Loaiza.

11.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 10:19

11.  Esteban DOMINATED Team Canada! He's also the #1 pitcher in the Kentucky Industrial League.

Pretty decent first batter though. Hope he's sharp today and it looks like he is.

Joe Mauer, the People's Choice? I think The Rock is going to have something to say about that.

12.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 10:20

12.  Mauer totally erased all questions with one hit Karros.

13.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 10:22

13.  Esteban really is a guy that needs that velocity to make his cutter work. At the beginning of the year it was not there and that is a big part of why he struggled.

14.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 10:25

14.  And the WBC is a big part of that. (See Chen, Bruce, and Majewski, Gary).

Watching Nats/Os games this year has been torture.

15.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 10:29

15.  What the heck is Chavez swinging at?

16.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 10:30

16.  14 Watching O's games only became torture this year?

17.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 10:31

17.  15 Chavez is swinging at a magical green alien that only he can see.

18.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 10:32

18.  Insects.

19.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 10:34

19.  16 Well, I hate Peter Angelos, so I kinda feel happy when they lose. As much as I don't like the O's, I kinda like Bruce Chen (blame MVP Baseball 2003) so watching his struggles this year wasn't so hot.

20.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 10:35

20.  Got that? Scutaro averages just over 2 walkoff hits a year! Oh Em Gee!

21.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 10:38

21.  Kotsay really deserves a Gold Glove.

22.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 10:46

22.  ESPN is beginning to ascribe Jeter-like powers to Joe Mauer.

23.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 10:49

23.  Clearly all of Bonser's great changeups are all thanks to Mauer.

24.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 10:50

24.  Wow, heckuva play by Morneau.

25.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 10:56

25.  Nice pitch there from Esteban to ring up Castillo.

26.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 10:57

26.  The Twins should fine Punto every time he dives into first base. He's lost two hits this series already from that.

27.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 10:57

27.  Why do you slide, Nick Punto?

28.   nickb
2006-10-04 10:59

28.  He has to slide in order to remain a scrappy, small-market ballplayer.

29.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 11:00

29.  Not like stretching will make much difference.

By the by, what's the over/under on the time it'll take Punto to reach Eckstein status?

30.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 11:00

30.  Yeah A's offense!

31.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:00

31.  Is it a splash hit if he hits it into the milk carton?

32.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:01

32.  The A's are starting to hit the ball hard, but everything is finding a body.

33.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 11:02

33.  Good swing by Chavez; damned Boof.

34.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 11:02

34.  32 Literally.

35.   fanerman
2006-10-04 11:04

35.  How did Frank Thomas get to 3rd on that line-drive, btw?

36.   nickb
2006-10-04 11:04

36.  Wasn't "Boof" the name of Michael J. Fox's girlfriend in "Teen Wolf"? How do you manage to become a major league ballplayer with the name Boof?

37.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:04

37.  Argh! Another atom ball.

38.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:05

38.  35 Bonser dropped the ball twice before throwing to first.

39.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:10

39.  Having Mauer lead off an inning is like having Ichiro lead off an inning. You're lucky if they don't start a rally.

40.   Padgett
2006-10-04 11:12

40.  I'm not sure: Is having Milton Bradley spill coffee on you good or bad luck?

41.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:13

41.  So they're ripping on Milton Bradley for accidentally knocking over a cup of coffee? Sheesh.

42.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:15

42.  Great AB by Morneau there.

43.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 11:15

43.  They said if it were Roger Clemens he would have beaten Milton up. I don't know, my money would be on Milton.

44.   Padgett
2006-10-04 11:17

44.  I'd take Bradley against almost anyone in baseball. Dude's crazy.

45.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 11:17

45.  They just blamed the coffee for why Loaiza has given up hits.

46.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:17

46.  So they're blaming those two hits on the coffee? I guess the coffee is bad luck, then.

47.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 11:17

47.  Or at least brought up the idea.

48.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:18

48.  44 Except Ken Macha.

49.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:19

49.  Fortunately, there was cream in the coffee, otherwise, Rondell White would have gotten a hit.

50.   nickb
2006-10-04 11:20

50.  Maybe they should make some sun tea. Too bad they're in the MetroDome.

51.   Padgett
2006-10-04 11:21

51.  Come to think of it, the A's would be pretty good in a fight.

52.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:21

52.  The Twins didn't have a fielder there.

53.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 11:22

53.  Take the ESPN! The coffee woke up the offense.

54.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:22

54.  Same spot! The Twins need a 10th fielder down the right field line.

55.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:25

55.  Productive out, and a single by Kendall! Small ball, A's style!

56.   Padgett
2006-10-04 11:27

56.  Are they seriously still talking about Bradley??

57.   nickb
2006-10-04 11:27

57.  Hide the lattes!

58.   Vishal
2006-10-04 11:28

58.  YES! i get home and turn on the game and voila, 2 runs! i'm lovin' it.

[19] i have a special liking for bruce chen too. it's somewhat inexplicable, really.

59.   Vishal
2006-10-04 11:30

59.  what did bradley do that they're talking about his judgement for?

60.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 11:30

60.  Now they will ask Macha about it.

61.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:30

61.  Way to not answer the question there, Macha!

62.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 11:33

62.  59
He threw a bottle up and it knocked over a cup of coffee on Loaiza. Then him and Perry got in an argument about it.

63.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:33

63.  Uh-oh, they just mentioned a Buck.

64.   nickb
2006-10-04 11:37

64.  I bet Punto's just itching to slide into first again...

65.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:39

65.  Argh! Loaiza! Cover the dang bag!

66.   Vishal
2006-10-04 11:39

66.  sucks to buck.

67.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:39

67.  Curse of the Buck strikes again.

68.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 11:40

68.  I'm just waying till they mispronounce Punto.

69.   Padgett
2006-10-04 11:41

69.  Chavez!

70.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 11:41

70.  *waiting

71.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:41

71.  Phew!

72.   Padgett
2006-10-04 11:41

72.  Now if only he could remember how to hit.

73.   Padgett
2006-10-04 11:45

73.  Loaiza is really groundball-heavy so far: 11 ground outs and 3 weak singles against 2 fly outs.

74.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:55

74.  Well, that wasn't a ground ball.

75.   Padgett
2006-10-04 11:56

75.  He's done.

76.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 11:57

76.  The Twins are taking better ABs against Loaiza now.

77.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 11:58

77.  Who didn't see that coming.

I guess Macha.

78.   Xeifrank
2006-10-04 11:59

78.  back to back, ouch!
vr, Xei

79.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:02

79.  A battle of bullpen attrition now. Twins have the head start so far.

80.   bhsportsguy
2006-10-04 12:03

80.  79 I know that he hasn't given up 5 runs yet but come on now.

81.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:03

81.  Ump is squeezing Calero.

82.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 12:04

82.  I love how his strike zone tightened up when Calero enters the game.

83.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:04

83.  I mean that the A's went to the pen before the Twins did, so they'll run out of arms earlier.

84.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 12:04

84.  What a bunch of garbage. That pitch against Swisher was so far out.

85.   For The Turnstiles
2006-10-04 12:05

85.  It looked like the ump had a wide strikezone earlier based on the gameday pitch locations. Is that true, or is gameday off?

86.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 12:06

86.  Well that made up for some of it.

87.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 12:07

87.  85
It's true. He has been wide all game except for when Calero first entered.

88.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:08

88.  85 I think Diaz has been inconsistent the whole game, particularly on breaking pitches.

89.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:10

89.  They looked clueless against Neshek yesterday.

90.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 12:15

90.  Let's talk about Derek Jeter so more.

91.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:21

91.  Ray Durham returns!

92.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 12:21

92.  Inside the parker!

93.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:21

93.  Wow! Inside the parker for Kotsay!

94.   Vishal
2006-10-04 12:22

94.  holy toledo!

95.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 12:22

95.  That was very foolish, Torii Hunter. Not that I'm complaining.

96.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:23

96.  When Kotsay hit it, I said "He hit it to the wrong guy." Guess I was wrong about that. The thing sliced away from Hunter at the last instant, and we were off to the races.

97.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:24

97.  Guess Hunter didn't remember everything from the 2002 series.

98.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:24

98.  Two innings of Duchscherer now?

99.   For The Turnstiles
2006-10-04 12:25

99.  98 That's my guess.

100.   Jon Weisman
2006-10-04 12:26

100.  Can someone describe the ItPHR?

101.   chuie
2006-10-04 12:26

101.  All that talk of Reyes' miniscule ERA is why I believe in The Whammy. (And why I don't watch or listen to a game without a good piece of wood close enough to knock on.)

102.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:27

102.  100 Hunter was shading toward left, and he took a good angle but overestimated his diving ability. He missed it by two feet, and it rolled to the wall, with Kotsay easily sliding in ahead of the throw home.

103.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:27

103.  100 Line drive to center, Torii Hunter dove for it and missed. It rolled all the way to the center field wall.

104.   Vishal
2006-10-04 12:27

104.  [100] sinking liner to right center. torii hunter dives at it but misses by at least a foot, and it rolls all the way to the wall.

105.   Vishal
2006-10-04 12:28

105.  come to think of it, i guess it was closer to dead center. torii was shaded left a little.

106.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 12:29

106.  100 It was a flare to center field that looked like it was going to hold up long enough for Hunter to catch; however, it tailed at the last second. So Hunter, who was kind of committed at that point, dove for it, missed it, and it rolled all the way to the wall -- Kotsay could have taken a fifth base if such a thing existed.

The smarter play would have been to play it safe -- at worst, you've got runners at the corners. But more likely, Kendall holds up on second.

107.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 12:29

107.  When Jon Weisman asks a question, people answer, damnit.

108.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:29

108.  Got that, Jon?

109.   Jon Weisman
2006-10-04 12:30

109.  Padgett wins for speed, Philip wins for style.

110.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:33

110.  First bad at-bat for Big Frank.

111.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:33

111.  Another Buck reference. Bah!

112.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 12:35

112.  Chavez needs to stop doing that.

That's the analysis you can't get from just anyone, folks.

113.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 12:37

113.  Thomas, Chavez and Payton all swung like the A's are late for their charter flight.

114.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:40

114.  Duchscherer is money.

115.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:41

115.  Anyone time that half-inning?

116.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 12:41

116.  I'm sitting here with my boss, Jason, watching the game -- Hi, Jason! -- and he says: "Any bets on whether Torii Hunter swings like he's trying to hit a three-run homer here?"

There were no takers.

117.   Jason Snell
2006-10-04 12:41

117.  Get back to work, slacker!

118.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 12:42

118.  116 Yes, boss.

119.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:44

119.  Did Swisher hurt himself there?

120.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:46

120.  Swisher looks OK.

121.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:49

121.  Great AB by Scutaro.

122.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:50

122.  Nathan coming in to face Ellis. This should be interesting.

123.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:53

123.  Wild pitch!

124.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 12:54

124.  Derek Jeter would have blocked that pitch.

125.   Shaun P
2006-10-04 12:55

125.  122 I think Gardenhire learned his lesson a little too late. He's got to use Nathan now, because he can't let the A's score any more runs. But it won't matter if the Twins don't score in the bottom of the 9th.

126.   Shaun P
2006-10-04 12:56

126.  125 Unless, of course, Nathan throws a wild pitch to allow a run to score . . .

127.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 12:57

127.  I come back from class and this is what I get! Excellent!

124 I was thinking the same thing.

128.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:57

128.  Wow, some power from Kendall!

129.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:58

129.  That's pretty much as far as Kendall can hit a baseball.

130.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 12:58

130.  Good swing by Kendall; way to smash that baggy wall.

131.   bhsportsguy
2006-10-04 12:59

131.  128 How come you are not loading the dishwasher or are you waiting for the bottom of the ninth?

132.   Padgett
2006-10-04 12:59

132.  So do we think that pitch caught one of Ellis's fingers, or just jammed him hard?

133.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 12:59

133.  That's nothing, Punto. Derek Jeter would have caught that one, too.

134.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 13:00

134.  132 I don't like the fact that Ellis just gave up on the AB after he got hit on the hand.

135.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 13:00

135.  Oh, they had to show a Joe Buck commercial now, didn't they?

136.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 13:01

136.  And all the punters shrink away from the ball, letting Punto make the catch. Sorta makes you long for Cubs fans, circa 2003.

137.   Padgett
2006-10-04 13:01

137.  This is bad.

138.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 13:01

138.  Uh-oh. Ellis is out of the game.

139.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 13:01

139.  133...while diving into the stands. And while into the stands, he would have healed a sickly child sitting in the third row.

140.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 13:02

140.  Eep. Hope his hand is ok.

Which pitchers have been in the game so far? I left while Loaiza was still in.

141.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 13:03

141.  139 And by extension, that child's grandparents would feel young and spritely again.

142.   ToyCannon
2006-10-04 13:06

142.  Evidently A's fans still haven't gotten over the "play".

143.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 13:07

143.  Time for another K Castillo.

144.   Padgett
2006-10-04 13:08

144.  What kind of ball call is that?

145.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 13:09

145.  Argh! Time to do some dishes...

146.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 13:10

146.  And with that walk, Phil storms away from the TV.

147.   nickb
2006-10-04 13:12

147.  Don't worry; Punto will scrub an infield single trying to slide into first.

148.   trainwreck
2006-10-04 13:13

148.  Yes!

149.   bhsportsguy
2006-10-04 13:13

149.  Congrats on being up 2-0.

150.   Vishal
2006-10-04 13:14

150.  A's win!

now how am i going to stay awake for the dodger game....

151.   Orly Yarly NoWai
2006-10-04 13:14

151.  2-0. And the "Metrodome Effect" goes the way of the "Santana Effect."

152.   Padgett
2006-10-04 13:14

152.  For the record, after Castillo walked I once again tended to the dirty dishes.

153.   graciebarn
2006-10-04 13:15

153.  Minnesota's Cinderella story
Is quickly receding in glory.
Both pirahna and shark
Bow to inside-the-park
Home runs due to error by Torii.

154.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 13:21

154.  This storming-out-of-the-room-when-the-tide-threatens-to-turn-against-the-A's thing I've got going will be very difficult to maintain when I'm at the game Friday.

155.   Daniel Zappala
2006-10-04 13:34

155.  145,146 I don't understand how you can leave during a tense situation. That's exactly when I am on the edge of my seat, rooting my team on.

Congrats, though, on the A's win.

156.   Philip Michaels
2006-10-04 13:36

156.  155 I do it to try and shake up the momentum. A butterfly flapping its wings causing a typhoon in China and all that...

Yes, I'm a grown man.

157.   Ken Arneson
2006-10-04 13:38

157.  155 My wife kicked me out of the room yesterday, and since it worked yesterday...

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12   02   01   

2008
12   11   10   09   08   07   
06   05   04   03   02   01   

2007
12   11   10   09   08   07   
06   05   04   03   02   01   

2006
12   11   10   09   08   07   
06   05   04   03   02   01   

2005
12   11   10   09   08   07   
06   05   04   03   02   01   

2004
12   11   10   09   08   07   
06   05   04   03   02   01   

2003
12   11   10   09   08   07   
06   05   04   03   02   01   

2002
12   10   09   08   07   05   
04   03   02   01   

1995
05   04   02