Thursday, October 7, 2010

ALDS Game 2: Yankees at Twins

Photo courtesy Minnesota Twins
The Twins are essentially in must-win mode tonight at Target Field.
It's not that the Twins can't take a lead against the Yankees in the postseason. They've done it seven straight times over the last six years. It's just that they can't hold any lead against New York, resulting in seven straight postseason losses to their arch nemesis. Same old story last night at Target Field: Up 3-0, Minnesota gave up four in the sixth, then after tying it back up in the bottom of the inning, they gave two runs right back on Mark Teixeira's homer in the seventh. Final score: 6-4.

Thus, the Twins are essentially in must-win mode tonight in Game 2. The scary thing is, even if they open up a lead, you just know their past failures against the Yankees are going to be in the back of everyone's minds. This is a significant hurdle for them to overcome. If they can do it just once, it's no longer an issue and they can move on. But until they do it, it's sort of like the Red Sox's mindset all those years when they dealt with "The Curse" against New York.

Either way, it should make for some compelling baseball tonight from Minneapolis, where all those worries about outdoor October baseball are proving unfounded at the moment. It's going to be 71 degrees at first pitch. Maybe it'll even be warm enough for Craig Sager to ditch whatever ridiculous sport coat he's got planned for tonight...

Where: Target Field
Gametime: 6:07 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Sunny, 71 degrees

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
C Jorge Posada
DH Lance Berkman
LF Brett Gardner
(P Andy Pettitte)

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 Carl Pavano)
6:25 p.m. -- Carl Pavano certainly came out fired up for the top of the first, setting down the Yankees in order. And when Denard Span reached base to lead off the bottom of the inning, the Twins looked like they might be in business. But then the shortstop everyone loves to hate turned a nifty 1-6-3 double play, and that killed the potential rally.

7:52 p.m. -- Sorry for the lack of updates. Was cooking, and then eating, dinner. But Mrs. Z and I have been watching the game all along, and we've got another humdinger going on. Down 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, the Twins just knotted it back up at 2 thanks to Orlando Hudson's solo shot off Andy Pettitte (who had retired 12 straight before serving that one up). Both Pettitte and Pavano have pitched well and despite allowing two runs apiece have avoided the big inning. Looks like each guy's pitch count is in check, too, so they should be able to go at least one, if not two more innings. This one's setting itself for a dramatic finish, methinks.

8:11 p.m. -- Wow, there hadn't been a manager ejected from a postseason game in five years, and there have already been two today ... with another game still to go! Ron Gardenhire got the heave-ho this time after Lance Berkman doubled in the go-ahead run for the Yankees moments after a controversial call that should have been strike three and ended the at-bat. Basically, the exact same situation that got Joe Madden tossed earlier today at Tropicana Field. The Yanks have since tacked on another run and now lead 4-2 in the seventh, still threatening to add to the lead and make life even more miserable for the Twins and their fans.

8:22 p.m. -- More wow. Jon Rauch pitches out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam, striking out A-Rod and getting Cano to pop out to end the top of the seventh. The ex-Nat comes up HUGE in a crucial situation. Looks like Pettitte's going to return for the bottom of the seventh. That's a gutsy call by Girardi. Obviously he's siding with the experience factor here more than Pettitte's recent lack of innings because of his injury. We'll see how it works out.

8:59 p.m. -- Our good friend Matt Capps did not enjoy a good postseason debut just now. Pitching the top of the ninth with his team down two runs, he just gave one up and now leaves the Twins staring at a 5-2 deficit with three outs to go and Mariano Rivera on his way in from the bullpen.

9:09 p.m. -- And that does it. Yankees 5-2, winning their eighth straight postseason game against the Twins, coming from behind in all eight of them. Just like the Rangers did at Tampa Bay, they go up 2-0 on the road and now head home with a chance to sweep the series. Wow.


Michael J. Hayde said...

"the shortstop everyone loves to hate"???

You gotta be kidding me. Jeter is the model we all want Ian Desmond to emulate, and if he even comes close, we'll be delighted with the bargain.

N. Cognito said...

Michael J. Hayde said...
"the shortstop everyone loves to hate"???

"You gotta be kidding me. Jeter is the model we all want Ian Desmond to emulate"

You really don't get it do you? It's not a rap on Jeter.

Michael J. Hayde said...

No I don't, N.Cognito. Read like a rap on Jeter to me. If it's just because he's a Yankee, well... he's a homegrown Yankee who stayed with his team when he turned F.A. Good on him.

"Sometimes I don't get all the Yankee hate." Most times, though, I do. If you want to refer to "the third baseman we all love to hate," you won't catch me comparing Zim to him.

BinM said...

..."the SS everybody loves to hate"...; When did Yuneisky Betancourt join the Yankees?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Michael J. Hayde: I guess my line about "the shortstop everyone loves to hate" wasn't dripping with enough sarcasm. I've got nothing against Jeter, but I assume you know that not everyone out there drools over the guy. Just the way it is. Please don't take it personally.

Michael J. Hayde said...

Whoa. Home team manager tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Where have I seen this movie before?

Anonymous said...

Umpire gave Gardenhire a lot of rope before finally running him. But Gardenhire was looking to get run and Wendelstadt had to oblige him.

You know, walking Texeira to pitch to A-Rod has resulted in more than one grand slam this season ... playing for the DP, but ...


Anonymous said...

And Michael, a lot of people are tired of the adulation that Jeter gets, both from announcers (even Red Sox fan Peter Gammons went over to the pro-Jeter camp after Jeter dove into the Fenway seats to make a play) and even other baseball players shower on Jeter. It's a backlash thing.

Ex-Nats pitcher on to pitch in a critical situation.


Anonymous said...

Big, BIG clutch performance by Rausch! Good for him. Still hope the Yankees win, though

John C.

Michael J. Hayde said...

Anon 8:18 pm. Thanks. That explains it, I guess. I'm hip to all the Yankee hate, much of which is understandable, but I've NEVER heard any of it directed toward Jeter... so respected is the Yankee captain in the sport. Hence my confusion. If you could build a team of Jeters from scratch (apparently the Nats are trying this), no one would ever have to go out and buy A-Rods, CCs and Texieras.

And Mark, no sweat. My expectations from you were lowered a couple of months ago. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Michael, I'm a Yankee fan, and if you haven't heard grumblings about Jeter you haven't been paying much attention. His defense gets picked over a lot, and it's resented that with his stats he gets $17 million+ a season. He's a ballplayer, not a demigod, and the adulation gets old after a while for some.

I like Jeter, but he's no longer in the top five shortstops in the game. But as a Yankee fan I'm glad he's on the team to set a good example, just the way Donnie Baseball did in an earlier day.

By the way - I put my name in the comment, so I'm not completely anonymous ;)

John C/JCC

Michael J. Hayde said...

Matt Capps in for some work...

I'm sorry I missed your sig, John C.C. As for Jeter, my son just reminded me of this:

Anonymous said...

First Rauch, now Capps - it's weird the ex-Nats closers on for the ex-Senators franchise.

John C.

Anonymous said...

Rivera will come on for the 9th. I think Girardi is over-managing here, even if he needs Pettitte for a game 5 it would be on full rest, so I don't get taking him out for the 8th. Then Kerry Wood is dominant in the 8th ... so you take him out, too. Pettitte deserved the chance to finish, at least until a baserunner got on.

I hate it when managers let "the book" override common sense.

John C.

Michael J. Hayde said...

At least Girardi can't double-switch.

Ballgame over! Yankees win! Etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mark, thanks for having the thread. Sorry it turned into a Yankee fan party. Looking forward to the Giants beating the Braves later on tonight (the Braves just irritate me).

John C.

natsfan1a said...

Was clicking back and forth again last night. Did see Rauch come up big, and Capps not so much (although I don't think that one run really made a difference in whether the Twins could come back).

What's with the manager ejections, already? In somewhat related news, was listening to the Tampa Bay game yesterday and the fans were chanting "replay" after a controversial call. That's not going to happen, but I do hope that bad calls don't become a story again this postseason.

natsfan1a said...

In other news, I just read the Sager dig. The man does sport some wild ensembles. :-)

markfd said...

Pettite turned in a gutsy performance, that is what a veteran lefty can do for you.

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