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The Closer: How 'Bout Them Twins!

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Notes from a day in baseball:

1. You've Got Spunk, Minnesota. ... I Hate Spunk! Somewhere in Elysian Fields, the final resting place of the souls, Calvin Griffith and Kirby Puckett are offering up a toast after their third trip to the buffet. Meanwhile, in the mortal realm, the Twins are celebrating in a more earthly fashion. The Conjoined Cities have clinched a playoff berth! Torii Hunter's goggles are soaked in champagne! This sentence only here for gratuitous mention of Boof Bonser! Minnesota's 8-1 win over the Royals on Monday clinched at least the AL wild card, and since it appears to be the style these days, the Twins are partying like it's 1991. And considering that they were 25-33 in early June, perhaps they deserve to get, you know, down. Meanwhile, the White Sox lost to Cleveland 14-1, eliminating Chicago from Double Jeopardy. And now (dramatic music), it's on to the AL Central race proper, as Minnesota is only one slim game behind Detroit for the lead. Actually, Bonser pitched well and got the win.


2. Resentment Building ... Anger Surfacing ... Must ... Not Turn ... Into Hulk ... You know, ever since the space shuttle Discovery launched, the Astros have been winning at an insufferable pace. Last week 8 1/2 back in the NL Central, they're now 2 1/2 behind the Cardinals (Grrr) after a 5-4 win over the Phillies; Houston's sixth straight victory (Grrrrr). That also dropped the Phils into a tie with Los Angeles for the NL wild-card lead. Both teams have six games remaining in the regular season, all on the road.

3. Only One Thing Will Cheer Us Up. ... Road Trip! And what of those scrappy Redbirds? They lost to the Padres by one run, 6-5, even though Trevor Hoffman had the day off.

4. Way To Use Up All Your Offense Before The Playoffs. Jerks. Uh oh. After the Yankees' 16-1 win over the Devil Rays on Monday (say what?), manager Joe Torre said that Randy Johnson will miss his final regular season start because of back spasms. Great timing, that.

5. Hey, That Number Doesn't Seem So Magical. Ichiro Suzuki had five hits (say what?) as the Mariners snapped a 15-game losing streak against Oakland with a 10-9 victory in 10 innings. The Athletics' magic number remains at 2.

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