I remember the first time I got the wind knocked out of me. I was climbing a tree at my grandma and grandpa's farm. I missed a step, saw foliage tumble before my eyes, and landed on my back. I couldn't breathe. Then, when the oxygen came back, I sprinted into the house. I was more afraid of the sensation than I was hurt. I didn't know know my body would do that to me.
By the time the Astros swept the Twins, I knew the feeling all too well. Life likes to suckerpunch you. My last blog post described the joy of victory and then, knocking us right out of the tree, the Astros served us the agony of defeat. They scored the runs. Our bats stayed quiet. We're injured and beaten.
To be sure, we're far from done. There's lots of baseball left to play. A series like this was inevitable. It just keeps you off of the tallest branches of the tree for a while.
Because the Twins have been playing well outside of this series, it's easier to get back to climbing. There are young players out there, showing they've got the skills necessary to play in the majors. New milestones are being recorded. Fans are forming attachments to players they'll cheer on for years to come.
If we're being completely honest (and I do try to tell you the truth in this blog), I was tensed and ready for a gut punch in this series. The Astros are a very good team. We're heavily injured. Our pitching was due to be drug back into the muck. Maybe a little grit will do us a good.
Plus, Justin Verlander. I just assume the Twins will lose when he's pitching against us. Would love to have seen that man in a Twins uniform, fighting for the good guys for a change.
So the Guardians come in to town, ailing in their own ways. We find a branch close to the ground and hoist ourselves up. There's a new series starting, and it's time to get excited again.