Over and Out... (Part Deux)
Tonight, the Minnesota Twins fought the Toronto Blue Jays unsuccessfully, losing 6-4. Tonight, Justin Morneau broke out of his Canadian slump, going 2 for 4 with 3 RBI. Tonight, the Minnesota Twins baserunning circus was in full swing, as Jason Tyner and Nick Punto, standing at the corners in the fifth, got swept away in a baffling 3-2-5-6 double play. And tonight, the normally dominant Johan Santana struck out 4, gave up 6 earned runs, and was taken deep 4 times, count e'm, 4 times (twice by Frank Thomas). And in doing so, the ace of the staff, perhaps the best pitcher in baseball, has conceded this year's Cy Young Award.
As I wrote before in this blog, Johan needs to win at least 18 games in order to win the Cy Young award, no matter if he strikes out a thousand batters and pitches two perfect games this season. No pitcher has won the thing without those dozen-and-a-half notches on his belt, save relievers and the lucky souls in strike years. After this evening's mess, Santana's won-lost record is 11-8, and he has 12-13 starts remaining. With the pair of losses in his last two outings (one of which was the hard-luck 3-2 defeat against Detroit), Johan won't make the grade this year. Not at all.
As is becoming the norm this year, it looked as if things were going to turn around magically. It seemed as if writing off this team had suddenly inspired them to win. Everyone, myself included, were grumbling at the All-Star break, and then, Presto!, they sweep the A's. After I wrote my piece a month ago, where I pointed out Santana's probable inability to win the Cy again, whoops! he spins off five wins in a row. But this year's script has everything magically turn to shit just as suddenly as it had turned to gold. We could still win this series, for sure. But the division was gone last Thursday; this year's Cy went tonight.