This will be your one and only Bert Blyleven update for this season, so pay attention. Blyleven, to my knowledge the only Minnesota Twins starting pitcher to have been born in Zeist, Netherlands, struck out 15 Oakland Athletics on Aug. 1, 1986; a Twins record. Or it was, until Johan Santana struck out 17 over eight innings in a 1-0 win over the Rangers on Sunday.
Blyleven, of course, is now a broadcaster for the Twins, famed for saying "fuck" on the air at least twice, and also for the following comment, which I hope is true: Earlier this season, Blyleven and broadcasting partner Dick Bremer were discussing bowling, and Bremer said that he had his name on several bowling shirts. Blyleven responed: "So you have 'Dick' on your shirt?" Blyleven, who won 287 games in a 22-year career, is the only eligible member of the 3,000-strikeout club not in the Hall of Fame. This annoys Twins fans no end, and to tell you the truth I'm not exactly thrilled about it myself. Of course, he also once gave up 50 home runs in a season, which is still the major league record. Fun fact: Santana is 20-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 28 August starts since 2003. He gave up only two hits on Sunday — both by Sammy Sosa — and improved to 13-9. Mike Cuddyer's home run provided the only run of the game. Hey, is that new stadium ever going to get built, by the way?
• Frasier Crane Approves (But Will Not Be Watching). The Seattle Mariners: Not playoff bound? The Fighting Ms are a half game ahead of the Yankees in the wild card race, and two behind the Angels in the AL West. But Seattle plays 17 of its next 20 on the road, and I don't think that any are against the Devil Rays. Still, they're one of the hottest teams in baseball, so who knows? Jose Guillen's two-run homer in the first led an 11-5 win over the White Sox on Sunday.
• It Came From The Bottom Of The Sea. Hmm, was I just besmirching the Devil Rays? Tampa Bay 4, Cleveland 3 in 12 innings. Joel Guzman game-winning single in the 12th.
• 40 Is The New 12. John Smoltz struck out 12 to pass Phil Niekro on the team career strikeout list, Atlanta beating Arizona 6-2 behind Mark Teixeira's two homers. Smoltz now has 2,920 strikeouts. Still, the Diamondbacks have won 10 of their 11 series since the All-Star break.
• The Thrill Is Gone. I am shocked to learn that Philadelphia blew a 4-0 lead en route to an 8-4 loss to the Pirates. Matt Kata's three-run double in a seven-run seventh inning was the highlight.