Joe C. and Jim Souhan are at the mike tonight for the show at The Cell. And while I often embrace the,`You don’t know what’s going to going to happen when you get to the ballpark,’ thing, I just don’t know how the Twins can pull this one off.
I have my reasons:
1.The game was sold out within a hour. It will be the most hostile environment many Twins players will have experienced to this point in their careers. I have NOT forgotten the 2003 All-Star Game in Chicago, when fans booed Eddie Guardado mercilessly during introductions.
2. The Sox have called it a black out game. They have urged all fans to dress in black and will hand out black, `Sox Pride’ towels. The place will rock.
3. The Sox hate playing in the Dome to the point where they feel they the Twins can’t beat them at The Cell. I’m not kidding. Sox officials told me last week that they can’t wait until the Twins move out the Dome because the Twins get away with bloops and chop hits and luck – I guess they’ve forgotten the 90-something horseshoes they had up their rears in 2005.
But they are convinced that the Twins are a different team out of the Dome. I agree. The home-road splits back that up. But it’s not because of bloop hits, it’s because their pitchers – especially the relievers – have been awful at times on the road.
5. Weather. It’s expected to be in the 60′s with wind gusts up to 30 mph blowing toward center-right center. Not good for Blackburn, who’s has left the ball up too much in recent starts. He did pitch better against the White Sox at the Dome, but he’ll need to be better tonight.
6. Nick Blackburn. Is he ready for what he’s about to experience? Sox fans will be all over him. Ozzie Guiilen talks like his team is about to make mincemeat out of him. Blackburn was 0-2 with 7.20 ERA in The Cell this season. The wind is blowing the WRONG way. He’s got to keep the ball down and mix his pitches – and the batting champion catcher needs to make sure he does that!
If Blackburn and the Twins can pull this off, it will be one of the greatest wins in club history. I have purchased a ticket to Tampa to cover Wednesday’s workout before Game One of the ALDS.
I would like to use it.