October 7th, 2010
The Yankees beat the Twins on Wednesday night in game one of their ALDS series. We have seen the result and way the game unfolded before. The last few years, when these teams meet in the playoffs, it’s similar to Bill Murray waking up in the movie Groundhog Day: new day, same events.
The Yankees lineup is stacked, so I guess they will get their runs somehow – probably 5-6 per game – unless Pavano and the other Twins starters throw one heck of a gem. The Twins aren’t getting blown out by the Yankees, so here is what they need to do to win, which is the opposite of what has happened the last couple years.
1. Score early and often and keep pouring it on – the Twins have scored first in many of their games with the Yankees. We have seen that this doesn’t matter. They need more.
2. Drive in men on base – the Twins were 0-7 in game one with runners in scoring position. Jim Thome and JJ Hardy had great opportunities to either give the Twins the lead in the late innings or tie it when they fell behind.
3. Bullpen hold strong – Joe Nathan gave it up last year. Jesse Crain couldn’t hold the Yankees in game one this year. These guys need to make one more pitch. Just do it.
4. Get the big hit – ARod & Texiera last year. Big Tex again in game one. The Yankees seem to get the big hit late in the game that the Twins can’t get. They have a lineup of homerun hitters, which is a great advantage when one swing of the bat can make the difference. The Twins need two or more homeruns combined from Cuddyer, Young, Kubel and Thome to win, and I hope that, finally, one can come in innings seven to nine.
Pretty simple, right? I don’t have any problems with how Ron Gardenhire managed in game one, as some have said. I liked Liriano pitching against Granderson, a sub-.200 hitter versus left-handed pitchers. Grandy-man just won that one. And Jesse Crain has been really good this year, so having him pitch against Texiera was probably the right move. Tex has more HRs as a lefty, but I would have rather had Crain in there than Fuentes, at this point.
With Morneau out, I wish the Twins had better bat options on the bench. They don’t, so the starting nine have to be on for nine innings, so this series can get evened up.
Pavano will pitch huge tonight. Let’s take this back to the concrete jungle and get after the rest of the mediocre Yankees pitching staff.