Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Geek in Vegas (I)

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You’re going to have to excuse the uneven and consistently late updates you’ll see this week. A few months ago, The In-laws of Reason offered to take the kids for a week, and The Voice of Reason and I froze in the headlights of an oncoming vacation.

A week without the kids? What do we do? Get stuff done around the house? A romantic week at the North Shore? A ballpark tour? The decision was made after a simple question was asked – What is the polar opposite of a week with our children?

A: Vegas.

That’s not quite true, of course. For instance, overseeing The Boy usually involves accepting some kind of (usually losing) gamble. And life with The Chatty Chatty Princess resembles a variety show. And certainly, your average week with them drives us to drink. But it doesn’t allow us unfettered irresponsibility very often, and that seemed awfully appealing.

So, the bottom line is that I’m in Vegas, a couple of time zones away, and my ability to access the site is limited. So is my desire to spend a lot of time writing. On the other hand, I have a ton of time to watch Twins games (God Bless Sports Books) and plenty of stories to tell, so it might be an interesting week to stop by.

(Of course, if you really want to hear all the stories, you should take advantage of GameDay’s 1st Annual Pre Game get-together this Saturday at 4:30 at Town Hall Brewery. Features include some free appetizers, free GameDays, and a still-irresponsible Twins Geek. Hope to see you there.)

“He’s not the same.”
Tigers announcer Rob Allen summed up yesterday’s game in four words, and might have unintentionally written the Twins’ playoff chances eulogy. For 2.2 innings yesterday, Francisco Liriano was hit hard but escaped without damage. That with a hit by Magglio Ordonez, and after one more trip through the Tigers order, there wasn’t any question that he wasn’t the same. It was certainly apparent to the Twins coaching staff, who pulled Lirano after four innings.

That same conclusion was apparent for several outings now, but Twins fans had been hoping it was just a case of “tired arm” or some other malady that could be overcome. I suppose by noe, in the Twin Cities, we’ve already heard a report about what’s going on with Liriano’s arm. But whatever te situation, the biggest answer remains “He’s not the same.” The Twins, for about the tenth time this season, are going to have to find a Plan B in the short term, and hope this resolves itself prior to the playoffs. If that even matters.

Bet, bet, bet on the home team
One of the cruelest ironies of sports betting is that the closer you are to a team, the more you know about them, the less you can bet on them. For instance, yesterday the Twins were –145 against the Tigers, meaning that you had to bet $145 dollars to win $100. Talking with the taxi driver on the way to the hotel, he said he was thinking about taking that bet, and I warned him against it. I brought up Liriano’s arm problems, the4 fact the the Twins had hadn’t beaten the Tigers in Detroit, and that they had played in 120 heat the day before.

Meanwhile, I want to win some sports bets, but I absolutely can’t take the other side. Can’t. Instead, I take the “under”, which was set at 8, meaning if the total runs scored are less than eight, I win. It seemed like a nice compromise.

It wasn’t. By the time the Tigers scored four runs (which was the fourth inning), I’m left to either root for the Twins to win, or for me to win my bet, because both can’t happen. The moral (which, dammit, I knew) is that you can only bet on your team when you think they’re going to win. If there’s doubt, or you have to walk away. And, unfortunately, looking at the matchups for the rest of the Detroit series, I’ll be doing a lot of walking.

I suspect that Jesse Crain is receiving more than a little criticism online today, and I don’t want to pile on. And, furthermore, I understand that my reaction to his outing yesterday is biased by the fact that he blew my over/under bet. And I understand that there weren’t a lot of other options.

But why the hell was Crain in that game in the seventh inning? (start Rant) And can we replace that lump of fluff between his ears with any material capable of maintaining some electrostatic current? Crain’s peripheral numbers haven’t been terrible this year, but it seems he manages to at least get the team into trouble about 75% of his outings. It isn’t that he’s not throwing well. It’s that he’s not pitching.

There was no doubt in my mind that the Tigers would at least add a run against him in the seventh, and that’s been the case for about four months now. And Gardenhire KNOWS this. He’s known it longer than I have, and longer than the media has commented on it. There’s a reason they called up Neshek, and dammit, there’s a reason that Reyes is working so many late game situations. And it’s that Crain can’t be trusted with the seventh any more.

Crain should only be trusted with the bottom of the order in any relief situation. Maybe that’s what happened yesterday, but if Reyes is available, even against right-handers, he has to be used. Crain has had four months to turn things around, and he hasn’t, and how he should only get the innings that are otherwise unavailable for others, like Willie Eyre is. (end Rant)

More on betting
I won money on the Angels/White Sox game yesterday, betting Buehrle really does suck, and that his last outing versus the Royals wasn’t the sign of a turn-around. I was only partly right. Buehrle’s line is going to be deceptive today, because he gave up a lot of runs late in the game, but he pitched well for most of the game. More bad news for the Twins.

The reason I won the bet is because Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar was very good. He’s been very good for several starts in a row now, and is providing the kind of performance the Angels need now that Colon is questionable. He’s officially a very safe bet, both in sports books and in fantasy baseball right now.

Today’s Bets
I like some Asian pitchers today…

I like the White Sox to lose again, since they’re playing the Yankees, and Wang is on the mound. Tell’ em Wang. We just bought land around the Great Wall of China. On the GOOD side.

I also am throwing some money down on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. (Did you know that Tampa has a major league baseball team? It’s true.) They’re heavy underdogs against the Mariners, and I think Jae Seo is being underestimated a bit.

Quote of the Game
TG: Lookit Bartlett. Doesn’t he look like Johnny Depp? He looks exactly like Depp. Nobody agrees with me on this. It’s like I’m taking crazy pills.
TVOR: Yeah- actually, he’s a lot cuter.
TG: Um, OK.


ghost42 said...

I had the same conversation with my wife only I actually think more of a cross between Johnny Depp and Barry Pepper(Maris in '61'.

Have fun in Vegas!

luckychuck said...

Too bad you didn't get to Vegas last weekend. I cleaned up at the sports book by betting on the Twins vs the Royals. The only hesitation I had was betting on Silva, but by then I was way ahead, so I said "why the heck not?"
Have a blast in Vegas!

okietwin said...

Ok fine....you're in Vegas....you can escape the harsh realities of life and twinfandom by distracting yourself with free watered down casino drinks, games of chance, mediocre buffet food and overpriced tickets to see some "has been or never was" belt out show tunes.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are left behind to forlornly ask...."Now what?" in the wake of the F Bombs tender left elbow, without your wisdom and guidance.

So..in your absence...this poor humble life long Twin fan will give a shot at "Now What?"

I like Terry Ryan....he is a tremendous GM and has done things with this organization few others could have. He reminds me of the depression era mother who could whip up a 7 course meal fit for a king from some table scraps and a cup of flour....

BUT...he has stood pat this season in helping this club....he has perhaps been correct to resist the high long term price involved in bringing in a much needed bat or veteran starter at the trade deadline.....

However, it is now time for Mr. Ryan to get on the phone! Now! He needs to make a deal...trade for the best available veteran starter who can make it through or has made it through waivers....I know..I know....this person is not likely to be the second coming of Jack Morris....I realize he may even suck...BUT make a move anyway Mr. Ryan....this team has come to far....has accomplished too much and most importantly are just plain TOO GOOD, to be left to the mercies of the Mike's, Scott's and Boofs of the world...we already know they suck (at least for now)

The Twins may be the most likely team in the Big Leagues to win the World Series...even without the F Bomb.....if they can overcome one small detail....MAKING THE PLAYOFFS....Try giving them a shot Mr. Ryan....

Whew...there..I got that off my chest...I rarely rant about the Twins...Wow...it feels kinda good....Ok..your free to return to trying to decide wether to hit on 13...

And remember..."What stays in Vegas..happens in"....No thats not it...."What you did in Vegas doesnt stay..hmmmm....not it either"...I can never get those mottos right...anyway...have fun!

frightwig said...

Someone on Batgirl's site recently pointed out that Bartlett looks a lot like Winnie Cooper.

Nealcp said...

Nope! Bartlett doesn't look MOST like Johnny Depp. He looks MOST like a male version of "Winnie" from "The Wonder Years"! :)

Anonymous said...

Where did you find it? Interesting read » » »