Skip to content

ALDS Game 1: Yankees-Twins notes from Target Field

Oct 7, 2010, 11:49 AM EDT

As a Twins fan everything was perfect last night, except for that damn final score.
I arrived at the jam-packed Kiernan’s Irish Pub in time to see the final three innings of Roy Halladay’s no-hitter, eventually made my way to fantastic Target Field seats just past third base, sat in gorgeous weather at a ballpark that was absolutely rocking … and drove home depressed after watching a story that I’ve seen too many times before.
Some disjointed notes on another gut-wrenching playoff loss to the Yankees …
• I didn’t like Orlando Hudson bunting after Denard Span singled to lead off the game, just as I didn’t like the various times when that situation played out the same way in previous playoff games against the Yankees. Giving up an out and playing for one run just doesn’t make much sense when you’re facing such a potent lineup. With that said, it’s ultimately a pretty marginal situation strategically and I didn’t have any major issues with the in-game tactics.
• On the other hand, I thought Joe Girardi did the Twins a favor several times with his bullpen management, first by leaving CC Sabathia in despite having David Robertson all warmed up in the sixth inning and then by using Boone Logan in a way that led to Jim Thome coming to the plate as the go-ahead run versus a righty. Sabathia wriggled out of his jam with the game still tied and Thome struck out, but Girardi’s moves in those spots were questionable at best.
• Francisco Liriano was thisclose to out-dueling Sabathia and putting together a great playoff debut, cruising through five very impressive innings, but things unraveled in the sixth inning. Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, and Jorge Posada doing some damage is far from surprising, but Curtis Granderson tripling off the wall in right-center field was shocking given his career-long struggles against lefties and Liriano’s dominance against lefties.
• Jesse Crain was knocked around in his final appearance of the regular season Friday, giving up four runs against the Blue Jays, but prior to that he had a 1.06 ERA and .171 opponents’ batting average in 51 innings spread over his previous 54 appearances. Perhaps his ugly end to the regular season was a sign that he’d serve up a back-breaking homer to Teixeira, but it would be crazy to not trust a guy who had one bad game following four months of dominance.
• Hudson has made his share of head-scratching plays on both sides of the ball all season, but his going from first to third on Joe Mauer’s third-inning squibber showed a ton of smarts and hustle. And it led to a run.
• In the seventh inning Mauer slashed a line drive into the foul territory along the left-field line and a guy sitting in the row in front of me reached out and snatched it out of the air with his bare hand as if he were catching a set of car keys someone had tossed him underhanded. It sounded like a cross between a gun shot and slapping a slab of meat, yet when asked a few minutes later if it hurt his response was simply: “A little bit.”
• Pinch-running for both Jason Kubel and Danny Valencia in the eighth inning is an example of over-managing. Kubel wasn’t even the tying run and Valencia is certainly fast enough to run for himself. And if the Twins were going to win the game there was a good chance those two spots in the batting order would come up again, at which point Jason Repko and Matt Tolbert are hitting. A huge deal? No, but needlessly finicky.
• Thome has been so amazing that it felt weird to see him fail to come through in a couple big spots. He struck out on a ball in the dirt with two men on in the seventh inning and popped up to end the game after the umpires gifted the Twins a 28th out. J.J. Hardy also came up empty in two key spots, including whiffing off an incredibly wobbly Sabathia with the bases loaded. They weren’t short on chances, but the Twins went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

  1. SouthofHeaven - Oct 7, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    Surprised no one is talking much about the umpire’s epic fail on the Greg Golson catch that should have ended the game. I mean, it didn’t matter in the end (and people tend to bitch a lot less when calls go against the big bad Yankees), but it’s yet another example of why replay is desperately needed.

  2. MEDAFAP - Oct 7, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    That’s what’s so frustrating about last night’s loss… Aside from the ridiculous 2nd-inning bunt and the two pinch runners, they played a great game… they had SO MANY chances to win, but just couldn’t get it done. I’m not one to believe the “mystique” argument, but maybe the Yankees are getting in the Twins’ heads…

  3. doctorfunke - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    I think the bunt was fine (it was in the first, not second). I don’t think that they thought that one run would win the game, it seems they just wanted to get an early run on the board. We have done a good job of scoring early, and it seems like when we did, we won those games. Plus, you had an overweight, out of shape pitcher on the mound, why not test him a little? He could hardly make the jog to first to cover the bag. And as for the Kubel and Valencia changes, if we tie the game, those two would probably go in as defensive replacements anyways. Tolbert is way faster than Valencia, and you know he’s being sent on any hit to the outfield. I take my chances with Tolbert batting later if it means you can tie the game.

  4. David - Oct 7, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    The best part of the Golson play was that it illustrated how wrong most of the replay opponents really are. By the time Girardi ran out of the dugout to argue, and the umpires huddled, those of us with TVs had already seen the play 3 or 4 times, and it was a pretty easy call to make seeing it in slo-mo. Having the umpires then uphold the original (incorrect) call after we had seen the truth should be embarrassing for them and for MLB.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Who's outside looking in on playoffs?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (2482)
  2. M. Trout (1871)
  3. D. Ortiz (1814)
  4. J. Hamilton (1802)
  5. J. Heyward (1792)
  1. J. Ellsbury (1760)
  2. S. Pearce (1738)
  3. A. Pagan (1696)
  4. C. Kershaw (1681)
  5. D. Jeter (1657)