It's easy to say the Twins lost the game as opposed to Oakland winning it, that the offense was aggressive and that Santana didn't really "lose" the game. They're all defensive arguments, and only partial truths.
No matter what excuses we come up with, Santana WAS beaten, the Athletics DID win the game and Zito preyed on what was a vulnerable lineup. No, Tuesday afternoon wasn't the end of the world, but if this happens again today it might be. Going into Oakland down 0-2, well, it isn't good.
Zito's breaking ball seemed to constantly be dancing out of the zone in Game One, but he's too good of a pitcher to lose control of his best pitch in a big game. Particularly when he got results like he did, it's more likely that he was trying to stay out of the zone with that big arching curve. When the hitters are flailing helplessly, time after time, at a pitch out of the zone that they CANNOT hit, wouldn't you keep throwing it? Up high, down low, outside, it didn't matter. Zito's curve was devastating to an impatient lineup. Oakland played a tight game, and played well enough to win, and that's the bottom line. Tuesday sucked, but admit it: We were beaten.
While losing the first game of a best-of-five sucks balls, it's better than losing the first two games. Today's game starts an noon again (the stupidest game time ever), and the Twins will need to return to the team they've been over the last 12 weeks to give themselves a realistic shot at winning. Hacking away against Esteban Loaiza will get the Twins no further than it did against Barry Zito.
Oh, and keep the ball out of Frank Thomas's's's's hot zone. PLEASE.