Hey, Twins fans! How you guys feeling? I’m feeling great, just relaxing this afternoon and practicing some meditation....
Who am I kidding? I’m a wreck. I’m so nervous about the wildcard game tonight between the Twins and the Yankees. I’m excited, but nervous. I’m trying to remain cautiously optimistic, but we all know the Yankees have cursed the Twins and the Twins refuse to do anything about it.
So I’m going to do something about it. Right now. I’m going to lay out here all of the tragic scenarios that the Twins could find themselves in tonight, in an attempt to jinx them into not happening.
Here we go.
1. Ervin Santana struggles and gets knocked out of the game early
Perhaps the worst thing that could happen for the Twins is if Ervin Santana fails to make it more than just a couple innings. Sure, the Twins have ten other pitchers they could use, including two other starters (Jose Berrios and Adalberto Mejia), should Santana falter—but if Santana can’t hold up on his end, who is to say those other arms will?
Santana was pretty strong in his last start against the Yankees, lasting 5.2 innings and giving up only two earned runs. One of those runs, though, was a first inning home to Aaron Judge, which is a bit scary. A lot of the veteran Yankees hitters also have good career numbers against Santana: Jacoby Ellsbury is 11-for-37 (.297) with one home run; Brett Gardner is 11-for-31 (.355) with three doubles; and both Matt Holiday and Todd Fraizer have two home runs.
2. Aaron Judge hits a first inning home run
See the discussion above about Santana’s start on September 18th, where Judge did just this. Judge has 53 home runs this year, so I’m legitimately scared. An early, monster-bomb from the bunyanesque rookie would be a sure way to take the wind out of the Twins’ sails.
3. Matt Belisle gives up a walk-off home run
If the Twins somehow squeak by with a small lead going into the bottom of the ninth, guess who’d probably come in to pitch? Matt Belisle. I know Matt Belisle has had a much better second half of the season, but I would be absolutely terrified in this situation. Heck, former Twin Aaron Hicks could be the one to do the honors. I think I need to go take a couple tums already.
4. The Yankees score eleven runs in the first inning
What if Aaron Judge really did hit that first inning home run? Hell, what if the Yankees ended up batting around and Judge hit two first-inning home runs? Despite what the kids say these days, that would not be fine. I suppose getting blown out early would be the least stressful way to lose, but I have to watch this game with my Yankees-loving boyfriend next to me. I would rather not have to stab my boyfriend.
5. The Twins get no hit
While it’s possible for the Twins to still win the game without getting a hit, it’s not very probable. In this case, the Twins would most likely lose, while also giving Twins fans absolutely nothing to cheer about. It would be like watching a car crash in slow motion for four hours and twenty two minutes, since that’s how long I imagine a Yankees no-hitter still takes.
I highly doubt the Yankees would leave their starter, Luis Severino, in for the entire game, even if he didn’t give up a hit. Still, a combined no-hitter between him and the bullpen would be just as bad.
6. Eddie Rosario strikes out five times
With Miguel Sano unavailable, the other Twins on the roster will need to step up their game at the plate, including Eddie Rosario. Once notorious for swinging at everything, Rosario improved his patience at the plate this year, leading to a nice .290/.328/.507 slash line.
But Rosario is still young, and this will be his first major league playoff game of his career. What if he gets too over-anxious? What if he reverts back to the Eddie Rosario of the past?!
7. Joe Mauer tries to lay a bunt
You will hear me scream live on the broadcast if this happens. And no, I won’t be at the game, I’ll be in my apartment in Minneapolis.
8. Joe Mauer gets injured and Kennys Vargas has to play first base
I’m not sure if this one or the attempted bunt would be worse. Joe Mauer has been one of the best defensive first basemen in the game this year, and should win the Gold Glove. Kennys Vargas... not to much. I can just see it now: In the late innings of a tight game, a ball Mauer would have caught in his sleep slips past Vargas—maybe even between his legs—and the Twins lose the game. The Blame Mauer Bot would have content for at least a decade.
9. Brian Dozier accidentally locks himself in a bathroom
Baseball players are real people, and real people do from time to time need use the restroom. Sometimes they even need to take a pee during the game, as Brian Dozier showed us earlier this year.
I’d imagine Dozier learned his lesson about closing the bathroom door after this incident.
So let’s say during tonight’s game, Dozier needs to relieve himself and goes to find a bathroom. This time around, though, Dozier has to go number two, so he goes to a bathroom further away than he would otherwise and also closes the door.
Dozier hurries to do his business so he can get back to the dugout on time, but after pulling up his pants and trying to exit, he finds the door won’t open! He frantically tries turning the knob both ways before he just starts pounding on the door. His spot is coming up in the lineup soon and no one can hear his screams from the bowels of Yankee Stadium. Paul Molitor is then forced to pinch hit Ehire Adrianza for Dozier, who is now sobbing on the floor of his own personal prison.
You might think I’m just joking here, but have you even watched Twins games against the Yankees over the past 17 years? This would totally happen.
10. Byron Buxton tears his ACL
I’m imagining this as some sort of Chad Allen-esque type scenario: The game is tied in the bottom of the eleventh inning. Jacob Ellsbury hits a ball to the outfield, and Byron Buxton races after it like an impala (the animal or the car, take your pick). Suddenly, Buxton’s cleat gets stuck in the grass and he tumbles over. Somehow, Buxton is able to get back up and hobble over to the ball, jumping on one leg, and he throws it back into the infield to miraculously keep Ellsbury from scoring—but it’s one of the most painful things you’ve ever watched in your entire life.
Even if the Twins ended up winning the game, they’d lose Buxton for the rest of the playoffs and much of 2018. This would be a nightmare. How does my perverted brain even come up with this stuff?