Hey, Alexi, taking pitches can be fun!

Posted on July 29th, 2009 – 10:11 AM
By Howard

The biggest at-bat of Alexi Casilla’s 2009 season ended with a walk — thereby allowing him to combine the recent suggestion from the coaching staff (that he take more pitches) with his reply that he just wants to have fun. What were the odds that Casilla (and his .161 average) would be the one ending Mark Buehrle’s incredible streak of 45 straight retired batters? Probably about the same as the horse that turned in the $122 show payoff at Canterbury on Sunday.

It was a great night to be at the Dome. Watching Buehrle cruise and then crumble. Watching the way it happened — with Casilla, Spaen and Mauer tying the game and the rest of the batting order (without exception) combining to break it open. Watching Scott Baker trying to figure out how to avoid Chicago’s bat, throwing 115 pitches in six innings (a trend that must end) while giving up only four hits and not walking anyone.

The Dome had a pennant-race feel on Tuesday, I think, for the first time this season as the Twins moved within two games of Detroit. The one caution, of course, is that this week’s little surge makes it that much more important that the Twins improve their roster before the trading deadline. A middle-infield upgrade and bullpen help remain at the top of the list — the latter all the more because of concerns that Bobby Keppel may be returning to the form that’s made him a career minor-leaguer (12 base runners in his last 3  2/3 innings). I’m hoping it’s only a bubble, but this isn’t a situation to just hope stuff straightens out.

That’s about all the useful information I can share. The day job has left me pretty Farved out right now.

One other thing. I’m glad that Twins fans acknowledged Buehrle’s streak, with the standing ovations when he walked Casilla (Alas, Alexi, those weren’t for you) and again when he left the game. If that had been a Twins pitcher at the Cell, I’m assuming he would have been ducking a Budweiser or three. (At Wrigley Field, of course, the Trendies wouldn’t have even known what was happening.)

More excitement tonight. Enjoy it.

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