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Game 22: Nationals at Twins

Remembering an old friend-turned-Nat before the series finale

San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

First Pitch: 1:10 PM CT

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: TIBN

Know Thine Enemy: Federal Baseball

Today's Lineups

Alex Call - RF Donovan Solano - 1B
Jeimer Candelario - 3B Carlos Correa - SS
Joey Meneses - DH Byron Buxton - DH
Luis Garcia - 2B Jose Miranda - 3B
Keibert Ruiz - C Ryan Jeffers - C
Dominic Smith - 1B Jorge Polanco - 2B
Stone Garrett - LF Joey Gallo - RF
CJ Abrams - SS Willi Castro - LF
Victor Robles - CF Michael Taylor - CF
Patrick Corbin - LHP Bailey Ober - RHP

From 1999-2004, Cristian Guzman was the starting shortstop for the Minnesota Twins. His speed on the base paths and uncanny ability to turn the Metrodome turf into his own private pinball machine endeared him to Twins Territory.

In 2005 the Twins were itching to turn SS over to Jason Bartlett, so Guzy was granted his free agency and signed by the startup Washington Nationals (previously Montreal Expos).

At first, the pickup looked disastrous for the Nats. Guzman hit .219 (53 OPS+) over 492 PA in ‘05, then missed the entire ‘06 campaign due to shoulder issues. But returning in 2007, he hit .328 (124 OPS+)—and was just just getting started.

In 2008, Guzman turned in perhaps his best single season as a major leaguer: 612 PA, 183 H, .316 BA, 107 OPS+. Not only was he named an NL All-Star, but he also hit for the cycle against Clayton Kershaw!

Guzman would never approach that level of play again and was out of baseball two years later—but it was fun to see a member of Gardy’s Gang find success outside the shadow of the Teflon roof.

Fun walk down Zach’s Memory Lane (TM) aside, there are more pressing matters at hand—such as not getting swept by the current last-place Nationals. With Kenta Maeda’s ankle still a bit in doubt, Bailey Ober makes his triumphant return after dominating in Spring Training and with the St. Paul Saints. After a rough week in Twins Territory—weather, game performance, any way you slice it—our Minnesota bunch really needs a W at the moment.

Let’s watch together and hope they bring it home at Target Field!