Perhaps someone should tell him that since he hasn't been the cat's pajamas since June, perhaps he should stop pretending to be the cat's pajamas against the Twins?
Early in the game, just as it appeared the Tigers were about to pull away, the Twins would answer back with just enough offense to keep them close, and to keep their fans thinking "See? We're not out of it! A win is TOTALLY doable!"
Indeed, the Tigers proved once again why they are baseball's best team. When the hits needed to drop, they dropped. Francisco Liriano, in spite of still sending five Tigers down on strikes in four innings, was rendered ineffective. A Justin Morneau double cut a 2-0 deficit to 2-1. It was negated in the bottom half of the inning. Joe Mauer's 2-run blast to cut the 4-1 Detroit lead to 4-3, was erased shortly. Jesse Crain couldn't get one elusive out. It was as painful as it was inevitable...at least, for tonight. The Twins were in no position to challenge the Tigers; the Tigers walked through the Twins as they've walked through every other opponent this season: as if they weren't there.
Tuesday night things don't get any easier. Even though Brad Radke is up for the Twins, and is 6-1 in his last seven decisions, there are still concerns lingering about the condition of his arm. At the same time, the same Detroit Tigers send Nate Robertson to the mound, who is having a career year. Here's how Robertson's 2006 compares to his career line.
Duration ERA GO/AO Avg K/9 H/9 WHIP
2006 3.82 1.62 .259 6.11 8.79 1.30
Career 4.64 1.61 .272 6.26 9.50 1.40
A brief examination of his lines leads you to believe that his reduced walk rate has had a great impact on his results. At the same time, his ground out-to-air out ratio has gone largely unchanged, leading you to the conclusion that the lower opponent batting average may be partially luck. More likely, however, the lower opponent average is due to a strong Tiger defense. His home runs per nine innings remains steady at roughly one.
Just because the Tigers are playing with an abundance of confidence, don't let that fool you into thinking that's why they're winning. Detroit is winning because their pitching is vastly improved (in the rotation if not entirely in the bullpen), and because their offense isn't as soft in the bottom of the order as most teams. While they're not as imposing as the middle of the order, Curtis Granderson, Brandon Inge and Vance Wilson aren't easy outs. When Rodriguez plays first base, like he did tonight, this leaves a bench of Sean Casey, Brent Clevlen, Omar Infante and Dmitri Young. That's not too shabby.
My advice to you, as it was to the group of 6-year old Twins fans huddled in a dark and cold corner, shivering and crying after Monday's loss, is that you need to drink your milk and stay in school. And if, like the little Hulkamaniacs we all used to be, we think good thoughts and send the Twins some positive vibe through our televisions and radios and computers, then maybe...just MAYBE...they can pull out a win.
Everybody now, all at once: literally shake your heads with fury and determination, and metaphorically shake off the chains of the Tigers like the pansy-assed chest-slaps of Ric Flair! Go Twins!