Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ALDS Game 1: Yankees at Twins

Photo courtesy Minnesota Twins
Brand-new Target Field hosts its first postseason game tonight.
How on earth can this game top the one that just ended in Philadelphia? Seriously, I can't even fathom what would top Roy Halladay's no-hitter.

But the Yankees and Twins are obligated to begin their American League Division Series, so they will. Certainly either of tonight's starters (CC Sabathia and Francisco Liriano) is capable of a dominant performance a la Halladay.

I'll actually be able to watch this one in its entirety, so I'll be sharing thoughts throughout...

Where: Target Field
Gametime: 8:37 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTEM-980 AM
Weather: Clear, 62 degrees
SS Derek Jeter
RF Nick Swisher
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
DH Marcus Thames
C Jorge Posada
CF Curtis Granderson
LF Brett Gardner
(P CC Sabathia)

CF Denard Span
2B Orlando Hudson
C Joe Mauer
LF Delmon Young
DH Jim Thome
1B Michael Cuddyer
RF Jason Kubel
3B Danny Valencia
SS J.J. Hardy
(P Francisco Liriano)
9:13 p.m. -- Man, did Michael Cuddyer crush that pitch from CC Sabathia. Sent it flying over the center-field fence at Target Field, which is by no means a home run haven. And since Jim Thome was standing on first base at the time, having been plunked in the shoulder by Sabathia moments earlier, the Twins have taken a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second.

9:32 p.m. -- Big, BIG strikeout of Alex Rodriguez by Francisco Liriano there to end the top of the third with two runners on. Liriano just blew A-Rod away on three pitches, getting him to whiff on an 0-2 breaking ball well inside off the plate. It's certainly way too early in the postseason (and this game) to make any declarations, but you can't help but think that one year ago, A-Rod never would have struck out in that situation. He delivered every single time last October. So far tonight, he hasn't been able to duplicate that performance.

9:45 p.m. -- Great hustle from Orlando Hudson to advance from first to third on a grounder to the right side that required a diving lunge at first base by Mark Teixeira. Then Hudson sprints home on a bizarre passed ball/swinging strike. Terrible swing by Delmon Young, but there was no excuse for Jorge Posada not to catch the ball. Twins lead 3-0 after three.

10:35 p.m. -- Three thoughts: 1) Great piece of hitting by Posada to take that slider from Liriano to right field and drive in the run that cut the Twins' lead to 3-2. 2) Liriano really faded there in the sixth as his pitch count reached triple digits. Ron Darling had a great point on TBS about how young pitchers, when faced with a tough situation like that, tend to try to "Caveman" the batter by overpowering him when they should just focus on locating. 3) Ernie Johnson sounds like he's never broadcast a baseball game before, which is nearly true. He had no idea Curtis Granderson's drive was going all the way to wall just now, and he also had no idea the Yankees scored two runs on the triple to take a 4-3 lead. Sadly, I'd still rather listen to Johnson than Chip Caray.

10:58 p.m. -- Some impressive at-bats from the Twins there in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by rookie Danny Valencia having the patience to work a bases-loaded walk out of Sabathia, tying the game 4-4. But just when you think CC's cooked, he bounces back to strike out J.J. Hardy. So we head to the seventh of a tie game, and this one figures to be decided by both bullpens. Which means we could be seeing Jon Rauch and/or Matt Capps for Minnesota.

11:08 p.m. -- Terrible pitch by Jesse Crain to Mark Teixeira, a hanging slider at the letters, and Tex crushed it just inside the right-field foul pole for a 2-run homer. Just like that, the Yankees retake a 6-4 lead.

11:36 p.m. -- Golden opportunity there for the Twins in the bottom of the seventh: Two on, two out, Jim Thome at the plate. The Yankees had already used their only left-hander reliever, Boone Logan. So it was David Robertson on the mound. And Robertson came up big, getting Thome to whiff at a pitch in the dirt to end the inning. With Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera lined up to pitch the final two innings, the Yankees find themselves in good shape. Best chances for the Twins in this series are going to be in the sixth and seventh, against the lesser portion of New York's bullpen. They couldn't take advantage of it tonight. 6-4 Yanks as we go to the eighth.

12:02 a.m. -- This is something we may be seeing on a regular basis in these playoffs: Joe Girardi summoning Rivera before the ninth inning. After Wood put two on in the eighth, Girardi has called upon his closer to face Denard Span. Runners on second and third, two out. This is the game right here.

12:07 a.m. -- Rivera gets it done in the eighth. He fell behind Span 3-0, but he caught a break when Span fouled off a 3-1 cutter in on his hands that probably would have been ball four. Then on the 3-2 pitch, Span hit a weak grounder to short. Inning over. Yankees still lead 6-4 as they go to the ninth.

12:24 a.m. -- Well, that almost got REALLY interesting there in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Delmon Young sent a sinking liner to right that Greg Golson appeared to catch just inches above the turf. But the right-field ump (sorry, I don't have the full list of umps at my immediate disposal) ruled it a single. Replay showed it clearly was a catch. So all of a sudden, Thome was at the plate representing the tying run. But Rivera broke Thome's bat on his first pitch, resulting in a weak pop-up to end the game. Yankees win 6-4, rallying from a 3-0 early deficit to take a 1-0 series lead.


Faraz Shaikh said...

damn Hudson is fast. He produced that run all by himself. Let's go Twins!!!

Oh and I will be rooting for all underdogs this offseason. Giants, Rays, Twins, and Reds (not sure if they will win even one game now. the no hitter must be the most demoralizing thing happened to a postseason team).

Faraz Shaikh said...

I am watching the game on which is not the most exciting way to watch playoffs. But it was only 10 bucks so I don't mind the bad quality (maybe due to my poor connection) and poor camera angles.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Dang it!!! Liriano in trouble with runners at corner and 1 out. Hard to imagine him getting out of this.

JaneB said...

I'm rooting for the underdogs practice for when WE get there the first time.
Mark Z....did you get home in time to see Halliday close it out? I loved the way Ruiz ran to him.

Michael J. Hayde said...

Which of the two made the genius comment that Liriano's 3-run lead was "like a 9-run lead" in comfort? As soon as it left his mouth, I said, "Not against the Yankees, bud." Sure enough, the Bombers rolled.

BQ: Since when are the Rays underdogs? I'm rooting for the Rangers... at least they used to be a Washington team.

Mark Zuckerman said...

JaneB: I posted on the Reds-Phillies thread that sadly I didn't make it home in time for the end of the no-hitter. An accident on I-66 ruined my chances. I got home 10 minutes too late. But I was listening on the radio, and actually that proved to be a very cool way to experience it. It occurred to me that's how almost everyone experienced Don Larsen's perfect game. You just have to let the announcers paint the picture for you and then you imagine what it looks like yourself. When I got home and saw the replay of the final out, I was surprised how difficult that play was for Ruiz. Didn't sound so tough on the radio.

All in all, very cool.

Faraz Shaikh said...

WOW Liriano just blew the biggest game of his career. One out away from major trouble, he served back to back hits to Posada and Granderson. Yanks lead 4-3. He is out of the game and I don't know who is pitching now. He was so locked in the two innings before. retired six straight with four on strikes I think. And then that Tex's hit derailed all his confidence it seems.

Oh and everyone keeps talking about Halladay's no hitter, I hate that. I was being a good student and went to class, knowing that he had pitched 7 no hit innings and this is how I get rewarded. I should have watched the game instead.

I will be trying to do some HW, running a software which might take a toll on my poor laptop since I have postseason also running on same machine. "So I'll be in and out."

Faraz Shaikh said...

Michael, Rays are underdogs in a way since they are trying to prove that payrolls matter less than believed.

Mark, that sounds really awesome. I wish I could have at least heard the end.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Alright I am off to sleep. Really not interested in watching Yankees win again against the Twins AGAIN.

I hope something unpredictable happens this time around in playoffs.

JaneB said...

Radio baseball really is it's own thing. And cool observation that most people heard the first no hitter on the radio.

One of these guys on tv for the Yanks game sounds like the actor James Woods and Its creeping me out.

Watching these guys play, it makes me realize how truly far our guys have to go. Sigh...

Mark Zuckerman said...

JaneB: That's actually Ron Darling, former MASN color commentator. Ron has come a long way since his one season with the Nats (2005). He's now one of the color guys on Mets TV broadcasts, along with Keith Hernandez, and he's improved by leaps and bounds. Really nice man, too. Always says hello and asks how I'm doing when he sees me.

Michael J. Hayde said...

Ballgame over! Yankees win! Thuuhhhhhhhh YANKEEEEES WINNNNNNN!!!!

Gotta love John Sterling. Well, I do... born in the Bronx and all. ;-)

natsfan1a said...

Yeah, my husband and I both recognized Darling's voice.

I watched the late innings of the Halladay game. I'd been switching over occasionally until about the middle of the 5th, when I heard the announcer mention that the Reds were hitless against him. After that, I decided to stay on the station. Was he on, or what? Impressive performance. (But I still hate the Phillies.) In other news, whenever I see Rolen, I'm reminded of his giving La Russa the silent treatment when he benched him during the postseason. If memory serves, Rolen had been injured and wasn't exactly on his game.

As for rooting interests, Giants and Rays for me. I lived in the Bay Area during my formative years, and I started rooting for the Rays early in '08 when David Ortiz (if memory serves) opined that they wouldn't hold on but that the Sox knew how to win. humph. Plus, I kinda like Joe Maddon.

I'll root against the Yanks and Phillies, but I don't feel particularly drawn to either the Reds or the Twins. Well, the Twins do have Wookie and Capps, and Bill Bray was looking good in his inning for the Reds last night. Not to be undone, the Giants have crazy Jose Guillen. The Yanks have Aus-tin, but they're the Yanks. (Guz isn't on the Rangers roster, so that doesn't count. :-))

Michael J. Hayde said...

As I said in the previous post, I was born in the Bronx and lived there 8 years, just a 15-minute walk from the old stadium - when I say "old," I mean the pre-mid-'70's-facelift version. And the Yanks, when I was a kid back when CBS owned them, really did suck. But it was never a consideration to root for anyone else, or not go to the games or watch them on TV. Even when the Mets won it all in '69, we were impressed, because they'd been so lousy for so long... but switch allegiance? No chance. If anything, the Mets gave us hope that things would eventually improve for the Yanks.

Sometimes I don't get all the Yankee hate, especially from people who don't have any specific team allegiance. If anything, this decade has proven that it's not payroll that wins titles, it's talent. I'm also amused that the ones who gripe the loudest about how the Yankees "buy" championships are the same ones that complain about how cheap the Lerners are and that we need to boost payroll and add high-priced FA's. You can't have it both ways, guys.

I root for the Nats because I live in the area now and they're a National League team. But Yankee fandom is encoded in my DNA. My kids - adults now - grew up Yankee fans. That's as it should be when you love your team; you share it with the next generation. Maybe that wouldn't have happened had the Nats existed during their formative years. I hope that this lousy stinking Redskins town can start grooming generations to love the Nationals come rain or shine.

Meanwhile, I shall root for the Rangers, so that the Yanks will have home-field advantage in the ALCS; I shall root for the Braves, because Bobby Cox - a great Yankee - deserves a last hurrah. And I'll root for the Yanks to win it all. And if it's the Phillies they meet in the Series, I hope - for the Nats' sake, in "tribute" to those obnoxious bandwagoneers that spoiled our opening day - you put aside your Yankee hate just this once and join me.

N. Cognito said...

DAMN Yankees!

markfd said...

Great game, CC wne t far enough to get it to the bullpen and then the Yankees did what they always do tear up opposing bullpens, great game!

Anonymous said...

Hey Michael - I'm a DC native and a Yankee fan, so I won't be waiting for the WS (if they make it that far) to root for them. My parents weren't baseball fans, and when my brother and I discovered baseball the Senators were already gone. We read everything we could get our hands on about baseball, and if you read about baseball history you're reading about the Yankees - so we became Yankee fans. Even though they were terrible at the time. No one believes me now, but I used to be the oppressed upstart living under the thumb of Orioles fans; the Orioles and A's were the AL powerhouses of the early 70's. My first Yankee game was at Shea during the renovation.

Being a fan of the Yankees and Redskins is unusually rewarding in that the teams seem to alternate success. Redskins in the early 1970's, Yankees from 1975 to 1981. The Yankees fell off the table when the Redskins hired Gibbs and 1982-1992 were all Redskins. And of course 1994-2010 the Yankees have been on one of the great rolls in sports while the Redskins, um, haven't. I've never had a year where both teams were under .500, and never been more than six years between when one or the other was either in the World Series or the Super Bowl. I'm very lucky.

John C.

Anonymous said...

"Michael J. Hayde said...
Sometimes I don't get all the Yankee hate"

You likewise probably don't understand why people hate guys who wear dorky vests.

poker affiliate resource said...

The Twins had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the series last night against the Yankees. They had the lead and let is slip away and then in the 8th inning just couldnt convert with two men on. The Yankees now have some momentum and given recent history they really have a huge advantage over the Twins mentally.

Michael J. Hayde said...

"You likewise probably don't understand why people hate guys who wear dorky vests."

LOL! I'm guessing that's a comment on my profile pic. ;-) FYI: There's no such thing as a "dorky vest." Some are just cooler than others.

@ John C.: Glad I'm not alone, and boy do I feel your pain vis the Redskins these days. I wonder how many people realize that Dan Snyder = George Steinbrenner of the 1980's, before the MLB ban? It looks like that MAY be starting to change for the better, although the prognosis for this season is still grim. Happy they tarred and feathered the Eagles, though; sure wish the Nats could do the same to the Phils.

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