August 1, 2018. Write it down. Etch it in stone. Remember it.
In a classic duel between the top two contenders in the AL Central, dark horse Cy Young candidate Adalberto Mejia made minced meat of a fearsome Cleveland Indians lineup, shutting down the likes of Rajai Davis, Brandon Guyer, and Melky Cabrera.
In what can only be considered an act of mercy, Twins manager Paul Molitor pulled Mejia after five innings of work, during which he allowed only a single hit. Without the magic of Mejia, the Twins were made mortal in the sixth inning.
Rajai Davis reached on a liner to shortstop that struck the glove of Jorge Polanco. Jose Ramirez then singled to right, advancing Davis to third. Even with Edwin Encarnacion at the plate, the Tribe attempted a double steal. Ramirez, unfortunately, was called out at second, but Davis was able to score and put the Indians ahead 1-0.
Cookie was a real treat
Carlos Carrasco was dialed in from the start. He struckout 10, walked none, and allowed only four hits through 7.1 innings pitched in a dominant performance.
The Twins’ biggest scoring threat came in the sixth inning. Joe Mauer sent a sharp liner down the first base line in the vicinity of veteran presence Melky Cabrera, whose lack of, um, any sort of speed allowed Mauer to leg out a triple with two outs.
Fortunately, Cookie struck out Eddie Rosario swinging to strand Mauer.
The debut of Leonys Martin
The newest member of the Cleveland Indians made his Tribe debut in the sixth inning, pinch-hitting for Brandon Guyer. He flied out to center field to end the inning, leaving a runner in scoring position, so the trade was clearly a disaster.
Update: Martin got a hit and scored a run in the ninth inning, so all is not lost.
A baserunning blunder
With one out in the fourth inning, Edwin Encarnacion drew a walk and Guyer, as he was born to do, took a slider off his left leg for the free pass to first base.
Perfect opportunity to put a run on the board, right? Wrong.
Yonder Alonso sent a lower liner to right field that Gabe Kepler was able to snag before it could hit the ground. Encarnacion ran halfway to third, turned to watch the play, and then sprinted all the way home, allowing the Twins to turn an easy double play.
Things got a little weird in the ninth inning
Leonys Martin grounded a single to the left side of the infield that escaped the glove of a diving Miguel Sano. Yonder Alonso followed with another grounder to Sano, whose throw to second glanced off the glove of Jorge Polanco and put runners at the corners with no outs.
Yan Gomes delivered an RBI single to center field, scoring Martin. Rodney then air mailed a throw about five feet over the head of his catcher, allowing Gomes and Alonso to advance to second and third, respectively, with no outs.
Melky Cabrera and Erik Gonzalez delivered back-to-back groundouts, neither of which offered Alonso the chance to score from third, before Francisco Lindor was intentionally walked to load the bases for Rajai Davis. He, of course, struck out.
The failed Facebook experiment
As you probably noticed, the game was streamed exclusively on Facebook.
It was... something.
The broadcast embodied every tired stereotype that baby boomers love to bemoan in their tirades against millennials. Sensing that the average viewer would be bored out of their minds simply watching the actual game, the commentary team of former Twins pitcher Glen Perkins and whoever was sitting next to him in the booth conducted interviews almost every half inning early in the game. So if you like to listen to Kyle Gibson talk about a poorly worded text message to his agent while trying to pay attention to the game, this was a dream come true for you.
There were also no commercial breaks. In fact, there were no breaks at all. It was a constant stream of content, which is fun if you like being overstimulated.
Let’s never do that again.