• October 6th @ The Twins

    Posted by on October 7th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    By the time Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series between the Yankees and Twins got underway last night, it already felt like an afterthought of a game.  Cliff Lee had spent the early part of the day dominating and befuddling the Tampa Bay Rays and Roy Halladay followed up the afternoon’s excitement by pitching only the second no-hitter in postseason history. As the final game on the day’s LDS agenda, there was very little the Yanks or Twins could do to top the day’s fireworks.

    Sure enough, the game — which the Yankees won 6-4 — was a tense, exciting, but ultimately unmemorable affair.  CC Sabathia (6 5 4 3 3 5) had moments of dominance and moments of shakiness and it was evident that the fine line between those two states was always just around the corner.  Nowhere was this more evident than in the bottom of the 6th inning.  After retiring the first two batters (10 consecutive outs at that point), Sabathia lost command of his pitches and threw 14 balls over a series of 16 pitches to four different batters.  The resulting walk-double-walk-walk sequence led to the Twins tying the game at 4-4 before Sabathia was able to recover the strike zone for an inning-ending strikeout.

    By contrast, Twins ace Francisco Liriano (5.2 6 4 4 3 7) was in complete control of the game, never teetering between dominance and catastrophe.  Liriano collected an impressive 14 swinging strikes, mostly on a slider that he was throwing in any count and spotting all over the map.  And then, suddenly, the Yankees pieced together a double by Teixeira, a walk by Rodriguez, singles by Cano and Posada and a triple by Granderson to turn a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 and the end to Liriano’s night.

    All told, the Yankees didn’t play their best game last night.  As was the case with Sabathia, the rest of the Yankee pitching staff — Boone Logan, David Robertson, Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera — struggled to consistently find the strike zone, allowing five baserunners and throwing 67 pitches to get nine outs.  Nevertheless, the Twins were not able to capitalize on their opportunities late in the game, Mark Teixeira’s mammoth pull-shot down the RF line gave the Yankees the 6-4 lead they would not relinquish and the team did just enough to win in order to grab a 1-0 lead in the series.

    Andy Pettitte (11-3, 3.28 2010 / 18-9, 3.90 career playoffs) matches up with ex-Yankee Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.75 2010 / 2-1, 1.71 career playoffs) this evening for Game 2.

    Comments on October 6th @ The Twins

    1. #15
      October 7th, 2010 | 12:34 pm

      I agree that Wood, Logan and Robertson weren’t as sharp as we’d like to see, but I thought Mo’s cutter looked sharper than it has in months. He might have had a little challenge keeping it where he wanted (he also got squeezed a bit)…. But 5 (should have been 4) batters and 4 broken bats confirms how hard it was to square him up last night. That could be a key the rest of the way.

      Tex’s shot had an ICBM arc to it. That angle they showed from behind the plate and a top the upper deck…. Wow.

      The Twinkies have to be reeling. At home, they had CC on the ropes, their ace cruising, a late lead, then came back to tie it… Oh no! Here we go again. Like a recurring nightmare.

    2. Corey Italiano
      October 7th, 2010 | 12:45 pm

      After watching the year Posada has had behind the plate (including the horrific pass ball last night), I can confidently say that I don’t want to hear anyone whine about Jesus Montero’s defense (especially since they havn’t seen him). There is no way he could still be catching at this stage of his career and possibly be any worse.

    3. Corey Italiano
      October 7th, 2010 | 12:48 pm

      Question, can the umps look at replay for calls like the one made on Golson’s catch last night? If that would have cost the Yankees a game I would have grabbed my pitchfork and torch and gone to Minnesota.

    4. G.I. Joey
      October 7th, 2010 | 12:55 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      Question, can the umps look at replay for calls like the one made on Golson’s catch last night? If that would have cost the Yankees a game I would have grabbed my pitchfork and torch and gone to Minnesota.

      All I kept think about after that was the hit by Mauer last year that was ruled foul and that this was going to be some sort of cosmic payback.

    5. Corey Italiano
      October 7th, 2010 | 12:57 pm

      One other thing, to all the Cashman haters out there…does Melky hit that triple?

    6. MJ Recanati
      October 7th, 2010 | 1:05 pm

      @ #15:
      I agree, and I didn’t want to make it seem like Rivera was bad or anything. Just from a results point of view, Yankee relievers threw a lot of pitches. I, too, thought there was some squeezing and strike zone inconsistency going on but I think it was going both ways last night and not just against the Yankees.

      I also agree that Teixeira’s shot was a real hoot. You’re right, it really had a nice arc to it.

    7. BOHAN
      October 7th, 2010 | 1:24 pm

      Liriano pitched to the same pitch pattern the whole game. finally the yankees got to him but thy shouldve been able to get to earlier. it was amazing he they didnt get to him earlier.

    8. MJ Recanati
      October 7th, 2010 | 1:25 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      I was thinking the exact same thing. How does Posada let a ball hit him on the heel of the glove like that? How can he not be able to do a better job back there? I didn’t mention it because Hudson would’ve scored on the ground ball out a few pitches later but, on principle, it is infuriating to see someone that talks so much and postures as a leader but is fundamentally incapable of doing the basic things required of his job.

      The funny thing to me is that for every game where Posada’s defense stinks, he always seems to drive in a run in the same game. It’s almost like he knows he has to get one back to make up for the one he gave away.

      As for Montero, it’s true…I’m curious at this point how much worse Montero could really be. If Posada can only block one or two out of five pitches in the dirt, does that mean Montero can block none or only one? I’d be willing to roll the dice on Montero next year and if he’s as bad as they say he is then just get someone else to play the position.

    9. 77yankees
      October 7th, 2010 | 8:25 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:

      Spot on – I’ve been saying for years how brutal he’s been behind the plate. Aside from the good year he had throwing out runners a few seasons back, what has he EVER given them behind the plate. Routine pitches become passed balls, balls in the dirt become wild pitches. Plays at the plate? Forget it – the ball will be dropped or the plate will not be blocked.

      And calling a game?? We know AJ’s situation with him. David Cone didn’t like throwing to him. El Duque had problems with him too.

      And he’s never been the brightest bulb in the room either. Remember the Greg Kosc incident years ago where he criticized him for leaving the game on a hot day, or the foolish fight he started against Toronto at the end of last season.

      Really, if the evaluators are going to question Montero’s maturity or defense behind the plate – well, what exactly have we been dealing with the last 11 seasons?

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