Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Watching Game One

I'm going to post under this heading as the game goes, commenting and posting and adding.
Liriano strikes out Jeter to start things. Got a swinging second strike on Swisher that looked like a change.

Smoltz says Liriano's change and slider are the same speed. Not sure that's literally true, but it's close.

Not happy to see that Hunter Wendelstadt is not merely on the umpiring crew, but slated to work the plate for Game Two.

Easy first inning for Liriano. Very good sign.
Span singles down the LF line. Kind of expected it to be a double, but Gardner got there fast.

Orlando Hudson created the Twins third run by taking
advantage of CC Sabathia's inability/unwillingness
to cover first base.
Time to run. Posada can't throw. Nope, a bunt. That's OK too -- Sabathia hates having to field his position. I've long advocated bunting on Captain Cheeseburger. Span on second with one out.

Hey, did you know Joe Mauer was born in St. Paul? It's insights like that that make people hate national announcers, their assumption that nobody out there knows anything about these teams.

Mauer whiffs. Delmon Young up. Rob Neyer suggested today that having Young hit cleanup shows that the Twins aren't good enough to win. I think Neyer underrates Young. Groundout, maybe slowed by Sabathia.
A-Roid pops up. Cano grounds out weakly. Thames pulls a fastball foul -- time to change speeds on him. Walked him -- didn't throw another fast ball after the foul. Throwing Posada high fastballs -- 2-1 on three of them. Is that the target, or is he overthrowing? Singles to right. First and second -- Thames is not fast.

Granderson, the former Mankato Masher. First pitch grounder to first. Hit it well.
Thome. That dramatic walk-off homer off Matt Thornton not withstanding, he doesn't hit hard-throwing lefties well. Sabathia goes up and in, hits him. A mistake. CC's been known to throw at hitters, but not in this situation. Cuddyer HOMERS! To CF! Don't see that often in Target Field.

2-0 Twins. Kubel grounds out. I wonder ... if he were faster, Teixeira might have had to flip it to Sabathia, and Sabathia doesn't like to run that much. CC didn't come close to first base on that play. Valencia strikes out. Hardy takes a slow curve -- 77 mph -- don't remember that in Sabathia's arsenal. Hardy doubles down LF line, Gardner nearly gets him at second. Hardy must be about the slowest regular shortstop in baseball. Span with a man in scoring position. Grounds to Cano,


Liriano falls behind Gardner 3-0. Gotta throw strikes to this guy, Now 3-2. Walks him. Ugh. Jeter late on two high fastballs. Now two sliders, a foul and a ball. Fastball for a ball. Slider in the dirt, 3-2. Single to left that eats up Young, but Gardner can't take third. Swisher fouls off a bunt. Really? Now a fly to left.

Teixeira up. No matter what happens this inning, Liriano has only himself to blame for this difficulty. He's got to challenge Gardner early in the count, and he was overpowering Jeter and deserted the fastball. Pops up Tex to RF. A-Roid up. K's him. Out of the inning, but it was harder than it should have been.
Looks like TBS is either avoiding the Target Center sign or it's just not that visible on TV.

Hudson singles. He had a good SB percentage, but I doubt they'll run with Mauer up. Another real slow curve to Mauer, another strike. 3-2 now. GB to first, Hudson goes first-to-third, and I think that's Sabathia's fault. Darling says so too. Passed ball on a swinging strike, Hudson scores. 3-0, Twins. Bad receiving by Posada. Young grounds out. Thome goes 3-2, lines to Cano.
Hardy guns out Cano. Hardy can't run, but he can throw. Thames flies to CF. Two quick outs. Posada, I guarantee, will take a couple pitches. Naturally, he swings at the second pitch. Strike out. Very good inning.
Cuddy pops up. Girardi apparently not happy with Swisher's bunt idea, not that it mattered. Kubel works a 3-2 count, flies to the warning track in LF. Valencia fans again. 3-0 Twins after four innings.
Granderson, and Liriano falls behind 3-1, then strikes him out. Fans Gardner. Jeter flies to CF. Nine straight outs for Liriano.
Hardy flies to CF. Span breaks his bat, grounds to first. Hudson grounds to third. Sabathia on a roll now too.
Swisher leads off the sixth with a strikeout. Teixiera doubles to LF. Darling says Liriano left the pitch up, but it was just above the knee. Too much of the middle of the plate, I think. A-Roid up. Big at-bat. WP puts Tex on third. Walks Rodriguez. First and third, one out, Cano up. Singles to right. First and second, Thames up, score now 3-1 Twins. Liriano at 95 pitches entering this at-bat, so expect a new pitcher in the seventh. K's Thames. Posada up. Liriano falls behind 3-1. Posada singles home A-Roid, just over Hudson's glove. 3-2 Twins, 102 pitches for Liriano, but the two lefties coming up. Granderson up and Liriano falls behind again, and Granderson triples home Cano and Posada.

That's all for Liriano. He kept falling behind hitters in the sixth -- Rodriguez, Posada, Granderson -- and didn't get any of them out.

Mijares in. Just the one batter for him, with Jeter and switch-hitters to follow. He falls behind Gardner 3-1.  Fouls two pitches off, grounds to short. 4-3 Yankees.
Mauer leads off the sixth. Waves twice at a low-and-away slider, strikes out for the second time. Delmon flies to deep left. I thought he'd tied it, but not close. Thome up, and Sabathia almost hits him again. Walks Thome. Cuddyer up. Smashes it off a diving Gardner's glove, Thome has to hold at third. Second-guess time ... if they'd pinch run for Thome, it's probably tied. But then Thome's out of the game. Kubel up. Not a good matchup for the Twins. Sabathia falls behind 3-0, walks Kubel on the 3-1. Valencia up. Falls behind Valencia 3-0. WALKS VALENCIA TO TIE THE GAME. Hardy up. I'm happy now that they didn't pinch run for Thome. Strikes out Hardy. 4-4 after six.
Jesse Crain was the ace of the
Minnesota bullpen all summer, but
he hung too many sliders Wednesday
to Mark Teixeira.
That's gotta be all for Sabathia. Three walks in the sixth, 111 pitches.

Crain gets the call for the seventh, of course. Darling says he's been great all season. No, he was pretty lousy early, and he spluttered a bit late. But he's still got to be Gardenhire's guy for this situation. Jeter gets the 0-2 call, then flies to Span. Swisher turns around, singles to center. Teixeira turns around; unlike Swisher, he's been much weaker from the left side this year. Count goes to 3-2. Two-run homer for Teixeira. Sometimes the percentages come back to bite you. I can hear the "Crain wreck" cries now. Yankees lead 6-4.

I won't second guess Gardy for bringing in Crain. A-Rod singles. Crain out, Fuentes in. Rodriguez steals second. Cano grounds to second, A-Rod to third. Thames up. Darling speculates about Sabathia pitching the seventh. Won't happen. Thames grounds to third. Yankees 6, Twins 4 in the middle of the seventh.
Boone Logan, the Yankee LOOGY, is in. This is the wrong part of the Twins lineup for a LOOGY; he should be used against Thome and Kubel, not Span and Mauer. Span skies to CF. Hudson grounds to short. Mauer fouls one off Posada's mask. Singles to right after a long at-bat. Young due up, and Girardi's pulling Logan. That means Thome and Kubel will face right-handers the rest of the game.

Robertson in. He's got good stuff, has a very high strikeout rate. Darling touts Young's patience; he still swings at a lot of pitches. But now he lets Robertson fall behind 3-0. Takes a tough fastball for a strike, swings at an outside fastball, count now 3-2. Walks Young, Thome up, no LOOGY in the house.

Fastball strike, breaking ball ball, breaking ball strike. That last a very good pitch. Strikes out Thome on a breaking ball in the dirt. 6-4 Yankees after seven.
Fuentes still in to open the eighth. Posada, Granderson, Gardner -- makes sense to keep Fuentes in. Count goes to 3-2 on Posada. Fuentes strikes him out with junk out of the zone. Granderson pops to short. The TBS boys keep talking about the change in his hitting mechanics and how much better he's hit in the past month. In the final 28 games of the season, he hit .247, which is about what he hit for the season as a whole, but he did bop seven homers. Gardner grounds to third. Nice outing for Fuentes, who won't work the ninth.
Wood to pitch the eighth. Cuddyer falls behind 1-2, fouls another off Posada's mask. Tough job for tough men, catching. He's been hit in the head twice now and he's expected to make good calls for his pitchers. Count goes to 3-2., fans Cuddy with a high fastball. Kubel falls behind 1-2, works it full again, draws the walk. Good at-bat. Repko pinch runs; I'm not in love with this move, but the bench is a catcher and a flock of pinch runners. Still, I suspect you might want Kubel in the lineup if there's a rally later.

Valencia gets an infield hit. A-Roid throws behind Repko, almost gets him off second base. Two on, one out, Hardy up. Hardy grounds to second, runners advance. Span up with the tying run on second. That was a Yankee play -- Cano took the sure out, didn't try to force a DP that probably was't there. Rivera coming in.

Thinking about the pinch-running move. If Kubel stays in, maybe Valencia's grounder turns into a force out. Gardy didn't run for Thome in the sixth, and that decision worked; he ran for Kubel, and it may have kept this inning alive. Tolbert running now for Valencia; if Span can get a single, you know Ullger's got to send the runner. Span gets ahead of Rivera 3-0. Rivera gets the call on the 3-0 pitch. Foul ball, 3-2 count. Ground ball to short. Rally snuffed.
Rauch pitching, Repko in right, Tolbert at third. Jeter flies to Repko. Swisher grounds to second. Teixeira grounds to second. On to the bottom of the ninth against The Great Rivera.
Hudson falls behind 0-2, fouls off four straight pitches, grounds to second. Mauer takes a strike that looked hittable, hits Rivera in the breadbasket with a comebacker. Two outs. Young falls behind 0-2, lines a supposed single to right. I thought Golson made the catch, the ump says otherwise. Umps huddle, the call stands. Replay says the ump missed the call. Thome up. Not holding Young. Thome pops up to third.
The things that killed the Twins tonight: Liriano lost his command in the sixth; Crain hung too many sliders in the seventh; and in the bottom of the sixth, when Sabathia lost his command, the Twins drew walks but couldn't get the hit to blow the inning wide open.

Don't know if I'll try this again for game two. Let me know if you got anything out of it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your post. Good insight...I agree, it's easy to 2nd guess the manager when things go wrong, i.e. Crain.
    Twins looked like they can handle the Yankees but againg...same old story. Well, it's do or die tonight.