Forty years ago celebrated journalist, David Halberstam, put pen to paper (type to paper?) and produced a seminal work on the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers called “The Breaks of the Game,” a book that focused on a season with the Blazers after they won the championship in 1977.
I can still see it: A strong Bill Walton rebound, followed by a quick outlet pass to start a fast break that seemed almost unbeatable during that ensuing season. But the book is about much more than winning basketball. After Walton gets injured, the book examines how the injury changed the trajectory of the season and a franchise. Walton never played for the Blazers again, and fans were left wondering what might have been had Walton stayed healthy that season.
Twins fans are likely wondering the same after center fielder Byron Buxton was hit by a pitch Monday night that fractured his left hand.
It doesn’t matter how many games he’s going to miss because I think most Twins fans are now used to his absences. Buxton always seems to be on the cusp of superstardom and yet in his seven seasons with the Twins, he has played in more than 100 games only once. Will we ever get a full season out of Buxton? I’m not so sure anymore. Blazer fans eventually moved on from Walton and I wouldn’t be surprised if Twins fans did the same to Buxton.
-The five-game winning streak came to an end Tuesday after reliever Hansel Robles promptly served up a three-run blast in the ninth to give the Reds a 10-7 win. The Twins split the two-game series with Cincy. On Monday, the Twins won a marathon contest in the bottom of the 12th after Miguel Sano hit a two-run homer, his 14th.
-Sano, though, showed us once again that he can’t play third base. He committed two fielding errors on Tuesday, which allowed two costly runs.
-Starter Bailey Ober, who pitched so well against the Mariners last week, wasn’t nearly as sharp on Tuesday. He allowed four runs, all earned, over four-plus innings with two walks.
-Nelson Cruz, catcher Ryan Jeffers, Sano and first baseman Alex Kirilloff, had nine of the Twins’ 11 hits.
-The Twins are off Wednesday, then Cleveland comes to town on Thursday. Jose Berrios gets the ball.
-Believe it or not, Monday’s pitching victory went to converted reliever, Matt Shoemaker, who improved to 3-8 after he tossed two scoreless innings with two walks and three strikeouts.