The Twins have suffered a lot of injuries this year. Columnist Jim Souhan suggests that the problem may be over-training:
Thus the modern ballplayer is bigger, faster, stronger, better-trained, and yet seemingly more fragile. Might many of these new-age injuries be the result of over-training?
Michael Cuddyer agrees with the over-training thing. In contrast, broadcaster Jack Morris seems to suggest that players are wimpy and that the iron men of the 1980s with whom he played never would have allowed their teammates so much DL time. We’ve heard this from others in Twins-land recently. Too bad Morris didn’t bark hard enough at Mark Fidrych when they were teammates in the late 70s. If The Bird would have been cajoled out of his apparent softness, those Tigers teams may have won more than the lone World Series. Missed opportunities.
I’m not sure what to make of the over-training argument because my experience with “training” begins and ends with me on my treadmill watching ballgames and X-files reruns while praying for the torture to end. I’m sure, though, that better diagnosis, greater prudence on the part of trainers and players when it comes to injuries — not to mention the need to use injuries as a scapegoat any team’s poor performance — has quite a bit to do with it too.
Just one week after Taylor Cole and Felix Peña tossed a combined no-hitter against Seattle, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake worked on his own perfect game through eight innings against the Angels.
It was an ambitious form of revenge, and one that Leake served up perfectly as he held the Angels scoreless in frame after frame. He sprinkled a handful of strikeouts throughout the first eight innings, catching Matt Thaiss on a called strike three in the third and getting two whiffs — called strikeouts against both Brian Goodwin and Shohei Ohtani — in the fourth.
The Mariners, meanwhile, put up a good fight against the Angels, backing Leake’s attempt with 10 runs — their first double-digit total since a 13-3 rout of the Orioles on June 23. Daniel Vogelbach led things off in the fourth with a three-run homer off of reliever Jaime Barria, then repeated the feat with another three-run shot off Barria in the fifth. Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford helped pad the lead as well with a two-RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.
In the ninth, with just three outs remaining, the Angels finally managed to break through. Luis Rengifo worked a 1-1 count against Leake, then returned an 85.3-m.p.h. changeup to right field for a base hit, dismantling the perfecto and the no-hitter in one fell swoop. Leake lost control of the ball following the hit, issuing four straight balls to Kevan Smith in the next at-bat and giving the Angels their first runner in scoring position. Still at a pitch count of just 90, however, he induced the next two outs in quick fashion and polished off the win with a triumphant eight-pitch strikeout against Mike Trout for the first one-hitter (and Maddux) of his career.
Had Leake successfully closed out the perfecto, it would’ve been the first of his decade-long career in the majors and the first the Mariners had seen since Félix Hernández’s perfect game against the Rays in August 2012. For their part, the Angels have yet to be on the losing end of a perfecto. The last time they were shut out in a no-hitter was 1999, at the hands of then-Twins pitcher Eric Milton.