2011 Game 74 Recap: Twins 3, Brew Crew 4

Weather: 67 degrees, cloudy
Wind: 12 mph, out to center
Time: 2:28
Attendance: 39,819

Box Score

The Case of the Missing Mojo - Part II

The doll had no idea what she was getting into when she poured herself into my office on a dreary summer night a couple of weeks ago. Then again, I had no idea myself that the hunt for the Twins' mojo would take me from the Twin Cities to the sunny California coast and all the way back east to Brewtown. The name's Twayn. I'm a shamus.

I'd been on the case for two weeks, trying to find out who had the mojo, but this puzzler had more twists and turns than a barber pole. It seemed clear as gin at first - the starting rotation had to have it. Pavano, Baker, Liriano, Blackburn, they were pitching like a carnival barker - hard, fast, crooked and all night long. How else could you explain the way they've been dominating on the mound? Then in San Fran the offense took off like a Chinatown rocket, at least for an inning, so maybe they had the mojo. One thing was sure, there was no shortage of guys suddenly playing better than they were before the start of June.

Just when I thought I was starting to figure things out, though, I got thrown a curve ball. As quick as it started, the winning streak stopped. Like the mojo was there, eight runs worth in one inning, and all of a sudden it vanished. Mojo's like that, I checked it out with a voodoo priestess in the Big Easy who owes me a few favors. But that's a long story for another time.

We wanted to get out of Frisco fast, but I had one more call to make before we grabbed a cable car to the train station. An old gumshoe pal of mine in the City of Angels, Frank Columbo. He'd been investigating the biggest mojo heist of the decade down in Chavez Ravine all year. If anyone knew anything about missing mojo, he was the guy.

Columbo is a real character. He may be the only man in Los Angeles who wears a raincoat, and he wears it everywhere. We met when I was doing some inside work for a movie producer with a wandering wife who turned up stiff in the trunk of a Packard. The Readers' Digest version goes like this: He tried to play me for a patsy, setting me up to take the fall while he got himself a .32 caliber divorce. LA's Finest fell for it, of course. A movie mogul's word carries a lot of weight in that town. But Columbo didn't buy it. Wrapped up in his own head, that ratty raincoat and a cloud of stogie smoke, he nailed my client and saved my bacon.

We got into Milwaukee late and had to rush to the ballpark. The doll was a good traveling companion - she could drink bourbon and play cards with the best of them half the night, and make it seem like wasted time with the other half. She also paid the bills - a hundred semollians a day plus expenses. I'm easy, but I'm not cheap.

The first few innings went by quick, with Baker looking every bit like there was electricity in his arm. Even when he gave up a run in the fourth and another in the fifth, he still looked like he could be the guy who had it. Until Danny 'The Juice' Valencia cracked a three-run circuit clout in the sixth, and Baker started to tire. Surely it had to be Valencia with the mojo. He must have taken it before his at bat. I figured after the game I would con my way into the clubhouse to nose around and check things out. I had a reporter's notebook and a fake press card in my breast pocket, that was usually good enough to pass as a visiting scribe.

But it turned out I didn't have to crash the locker room. Because after Valencia's round tripper, the mojo up and disappeared again like a Bert Blyleven one-cheek sneaker in a windstorm. Mijares went to the mound to face Prince Fielder with men on and no mojo. It wasn't pretty. It was the kind of scene where the flatfoots have to keep the cameras away from the body.

After the game we headed back to our hotel, adjoining rooms at the Pfister downtown. I had a feeling the double doors would be unlocked from both sides tonight. I'd have to remember to muss up the bedding in my room in the morning. A gent has to keep up appearances when he's traveling with a lady, after all.

23 thoughts on “2011 Game 74 Recap: Twins 3, Brew Crew 4”

  1. Nice writeup. I kept hearing this guy's voice while reading it:


  2. Big mistake by Gardy in this one. No one but Perkins should be pitching to Fielder with the game on the line. That was frustrating.

  3. Thome activated, but Tosoni sent down, not one of the catchers. Oy. Kubel ran without pain today and Span took batting practice with no ill effects. Of course, Morneau always had to wait till the next day to see how he reacted.

    1. My thought on this is that if Mijares threw the first pitch over, they might have been more apt to call a breaking ball. You start out 1-0 to a dangerous hitter like Fielder, you don't want to throw something off the plate he's not going to swing at and fall behind 2-0.

      They should have just put him on, and let Baker have a shot at McGehee.

      1. if nothing else, make the 3-2 pitch a foot outside and see if he goes fishing. Granted, Mauer isn't the best at blocking balls in the dirt. I say call time, put Butera in at catcher, move Mauer to first base, and throw him a ball in the dirt.

  4. I was at the game, seeing baby jebus go 0 fer then get called out after game for pitch selection after Gardy says he wants him to play first, and now were keeping 3 catchers for some reason? Damn that sucks.

    1. Awesome. I read on Hardball Talk the other day that they had to wait 3 days to embed videos.

    2. Meanwhile, no one is talking about the amazing catch and tag by Mauer. That was a very difficult hop and he had no time to gather it in. Just a tremendous play.

      1. The constant pot-shots at Mauer are getting tiresome. Now shecky says "I've always been told by Twins people that Mauer is not an exceptional pitch-caller." WTF does that mean?

        1. Shecky should be ignored. If he's "constantly" been told that, he would have reported it before now. He's a lazy sensationalist who writes for the lowest common denominator.

        2. Twins' ERA on the season: 4.11
          Twins' ERA with Mauer catching: 3.67
          Twins' 2010 ERA: 3.95
          Twins' 20101 ERA with Mauer catching: 3.81
          Twins' 2009 ERA: 4.50
          Twins' 2009 ERA with Mauer catching: 4.29

          I think I see a trend here. I was surprised with 2010 considering Butters caught so many of "ace" Pavano's starts.

        3. I don't think people will appreciate Mauer until he's either in the twilight of his career, or retired. He's one of the very best catchers of his generation, and could go down as one of the best ever.

          But hey, I'm sure if Mauer had called 4 straight breaking balls, and Fielder got walked, and Burnett gave up a game winner they'd blame it on Mauer too.

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