Everybody has one...
Early on it seemed that last night was destined to be the Twins' 9th consecutive win. An early lead, even if just two runs that led into the late innings, seemed from our perspective to be insurmountable. We had momentum. We had a string of solid pitching. We had hot bats to back it up.
Then Reyes was pulled after being as efficient as efficient can be. Entering the 7th inning in relief of Carlos Silva, Reyes retired two batters on two pitches. Reyes was replaced with Kyle Lohse, who proceeded to give the game away. Without recording an out, Lohse walked one and allowed three hits, which made for two runs. A 3-1 lead had already slipped to a 3-3 tie; now, a 3-3 tie had led to a 3-5 deficit.
Without mentioning any manager's names, I won't say this was an idiotic move, because numerically it wasn't the worst thing "they" could have done. What doesn't make sense is removing a pitcher who had notched consecutive outs on as many pitches. Historically, Reyes is a bit worse against right-handed hitters, but not enough to warrant a changing of the guard after the performance he gave.
The feeling of this game can best be summed up by how Calvin probably felt one day while playing a little backyard baseball with Hobbes, as chronicled by Bill Watterson:
Calvin pitches to Hobbes, who pops up.
Calvin: Ha! It went straight up! Easy out! Easy out!
Calvin stands with glove outstretched, waiting for the ball, and turns smugly to Hobbes.
Calvin: You're not even going to run, eh? I don't blame you. You're as good as out.
Calvin and Hobbes wait for the ball to come down. Just as the ball is about to fall into Calvin's glove, Hobbes hangs his bat over Calvin's head and the ball boinks away.
Calvin: YOU CAN'T DO THAT!
Hobbes did it. So did the Astros, who took one from under our noses. Or, over our heads, as the case may be.
Keeping in check with reality, the Twins are 4-1 on their current road trip. Losing one of every nine games isn't a bad situation, even if that win rate can't continue. One loss doesn't change what's occurred over the last week and a half, and I expect that tonight we'll find the Twins as hungry and as confident as ever.
Tonight is the rubber match in Houston. It entails another return of Roger Clemens, who faces off against Fransisco Liriano. The media is already attempting to turn this into a mild ballyhoo: the return of the great Rocket! Future star pitted against a future Hall of Famer at the twilight of his career! There will be a lot of chatter about tonight's game throughout the day, but no matter how over-regurgitated things may become...it's still going to be a good game to watch. See you then.