If you want a feeling of the ride up and down the emotional roller coaster, just look to the left. Simply incredible.
While luck and some umpiring mistakes probably contributed to this win, so did almost every player on the Minnesota roster. Here are my five September 25th MVPs:
1. Denard Span
3-4, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 SO, 1 3B
While thrilled on the outside, I’m sure Michael Cuddyer is worrying about his future on the inside. Span is now hitting .299 on the season and was one of the most important factors in this amazing win. His RBI triple in the eighth tied the game up and, as you can see from the FanGraph chart above, had over a 50% win probability impact on the game. I’m perfectly willing to give that hit the title of “Most Important Hit of the Year.” Easily.
Do I have to say any more? Gomez was also incredible tonight.
3. Joe Nathan
I’ve said for a while that Nathan should be allowed to go more than one inning. I’m almost glad that Slowey left the game early, which led to the use of six relievers, which forced Nathan to go six outs. To all those Nathan-haters out there: what now? He went two perfect innings and finished with a WPA+ of .286. He only struck out two, but that was all that was needed. Major props to him and here’s hoping he is used more in these next three games – and potentially more. (Also included here is Gardy. He had the guts to leave Nathan on the mound for the 10th when Mijares, Guardado, Humber, and Korecky were all ready for use. The boink-o-meter will be lowering several levels tonight.)
2. The Bullpen
Following a night of four scoreless relief innings the bullpen came out and provided 6.1 inning of two-hit ball; both of those coming off Jesse Crain. Guerrier, Reyes, Bonser, Breslow, and Nathan all refused to give up a hit. Normally the ones who are most likely to be the subject of our wrath, they relieve all the glory tonight. To quote “Alexi Casilla All-Star” – whose moniker is especially adaquate today :
Given Floyd hasn’t pitched well so far, if the Twins can hold the Sox to 6 runs, they will win the game. It is not likely that happens, but anything can happen.
He posted that on Twinkie Town at 8:46 pm CST; right after the Slowey collapse. Cheers to him for the prediction, but I boo ye of little faith.
1. Everybody Else – Except Morneau and Young
I can’t name everybody. This game was obviously a team effort, and everybody deserves credit and thanks. (I feel like I’m giving an acceptance speech.) The down note, though, is that the two biggest power hitters on this year combined to go 0-10 with three strikeouts. But let’s not talk about how Morneau almost killed his MVP chances in one game. Let’s not talk about the lack of patience that Young displayed tonight, seemingly ruining everything he has worked on and progressed from so far this year. Let’s just not talk about that.
Let’s focus on Mauer, and his 3-5 game. His average is now up to .330, and another batting title seems imminent. Let’s talk about the clutch hits Punto and Harris recorded, as well as the one Kubel hit. Let’s focus on that.
Baseball is a crazy game. Totally unpredictable, and absolutely fun to watch. I dare you to tell me that baseball is a boring sport. This win was obviously incredible, and it should be treated as such. The Twins are leading the division on September 26th! Here are my realist views of what will happen in the future. If you want to continue to savor the win and refuse to be bogged down with sad, albeit realistic views, turn the channel now.
We have to remember that both the Twins and White Sox aren’t very good teams at all. Both have huge holes to fill. In all likelihood, whoever reaches the playoffs out of the Central will be swept. Our division is woefully bad this year, but will improve in the future. This win should be treated as it has been; the biggest of the year, but should also be taken with a grain of salt.
That said, enjoy this one! It was a remarkable game and the adrenaline is still pumping!