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One questionable call. That’s all it takes when you’re playing against a great team. Of course, a team has to be able to take advantage of said questionable call. In Game 1, RF Greg Golson clearly caught a line drive that should have ended the game, but instead it was inexplicably called a single for Delmon Young. The Twins got one more chance, but Jim Thome popped up to end the game and the Twins lost. In Game 2, it was the Twins who were on the wrong end of a very untimely, questionable call. With two outs in the top of the 7th inning and a runner on 1B, Carl Pavano got two strikes on Lance Berkman. Then he threw a pitch the was, according to everything available, a strike in which the baseball was over most of the inside corner of the plate. Berkman took the pitch. Pavano walked off the mound toward the dugout. But Hunter Wendelstedt, the home plate umpire, called it a ball. Pavano handled it well and on the next pitch threw a sinker that dipped several inches below the bottom of the strikezone. Unfortunately, Berkman went down and got it. He drove a double to left centerfield to give the lead back to the Yankees. Manager Ron Gardenhire came out to “talk to his pitcher and his infielders” but it was clear what was going on. He waited for the umpire to come out and he gave him a piece of his mind. Eventually, he was thrown out of the game, and rightfully so. The Yankees added another run, and for all intents and purposes, the game was over. There was some question about what Andy Pettitte would do since he was hurt for about the last three months, but he was tremendous. He had great control and a very sharp cutter and slider. He made the Twins hitters look bad, and he got better as the game went along. Kerry Wood dominated the 8th frame, and then Mariano Rivera got another save with a scoreless ninth inning.
Throughout the game, I was on Twitter which was a terrific invention by whoever it was the invented that technology. Immediate thoughts on the game, stats, and much more. It really is something that baseball fans should be following for many reasons. The immediacy of Twitter can be equal parts amazing and frustrating. To be able to collect information so quickly is great. To have to hear some people’s opinions can be frustrating. Typically I’m pretty level-headed, but during the game tonight, even I got more than a little frustrated. And some of my “followers” called me on it… Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share with you a miniature transcript of my Twitter activity from throughout the game with more information than can fit into 140 characters, when appropriate.
You have to love the interesting style choices of TBS’s Sager. Is he good at his job? Not really. But man, is it entertaining to find out what he is going to be wearing each time he’s on TV.
Maybe a sac bunt wouldn’t have been so bad there? about 3 hours ago via web
In Game 1, Orlando Hudson bunted Denard Span to 2B after Span led off with a single. In Game 2, Span was again on 1B after a hit. Hudson did not bunt. Instead he grounded into a double play.
Mauer’s 1st At Bat
Hey Joe (Mauer), it’s called a Curveball… it’s supposed to do that. about 3 hours ago via web
Joe Mauer has two soft singles so far in these two games. Against the tough lefty starters for the Yankees, Mauer has looked really, really bad. Sabathia struck him out twice in Game 1 on sliders, and in his first at bat of Game 2, Pettitte did the same thing.
Small Sample Size
The regular season is a marathon, not a sprint. Things happen in a regular season game and even if it’s bad, you can look at the bigger picture. In the playoffs, especially in a Best of 5 series, it’s all magnified. Every pitch counts. Every at bat is scrutinized. A player can be great, but if he has two straight bad games, he is called out, called a choker, or worse. Is that fair? I don’t know, but it is what it is.
Yankees writers apparently like to call Carl Pavano the American Idle due to his lack of health and pitching infrequently in the Bronx during his four years there. I just found it very ironic when I read some Yankees writers/tweeters complaining about the Twins getting some ball-strike calls that the Yankees weren’t getting. Think of the irony of that!
The Twins are 0-10 with Runners in Scoring Position through these two games. Obviously that isn’t idea. Valencia has been up twice now with bases loaded, and although he does not have a hit in either of those plate appearances, he has been productive. In Game 1, it was an RBI walk. In this game, a sacrifice fly gave the Twins the very early lead. I’m finding it comical that Twins writers are talking about how the pitchers can’t hold a lead. In tonight’s game, their lone lead was 1-0 in the 2nd inning. Against the Yankees. I wasn’t really expecting that lead to be held through nine innings.
Gotta Still Have Fun, Right?
martyandrade If Carl Pavano were a character in Star Wars, what character would he be? extra points for extreme nerdism, expanded universe counts. about 3 hours ago via web Retweeted by you and 1 other
Just because it’s a big game and all doesn’t mean fans can’t have a little fun. Here’s a question that you may want to consider too!
Limiting the Damage
big BIG pitch by Pavano!!! Great sinker got exactly what he needed! about 2 hours ago via web
That was big in that it limited the damage in an inning that could have been really ugly. Nice work by Pavano. Gardy right about him! about 2 hours ago via web
In the top of the fourth, Curtis Granderson led off with a double, and Mark Teixeira singled him to 3B. Pavano got Alex Rodriguez to fly out to RF for a sacrifice fly that tied the game. But Robinson Cano singled and Teixeira went to 3B with one out. With Nick Swisher up, Pavano threw a first-pitch strike. On the next pitch, Pavano through a terrific sinker that dropped below the strike zone. Swisher swung and tapped weakly back to Pavano who started the 1-6-3 double play to end the threat and keep the game tied.
“Oriented” not “Orientated” – sorry, one of my pet peaves! about 2 hours ago via web
Again, nothing to do with the game, but I believe one of the TBS crew said “orientated” and I felt the need to say something.
Reusse Researches Runs
1500ESPN’s Patrick Reusse did a little research to show that the Twins offense has been pretty much non-existent in the playoffs. We can now add a two to the end of that list.
Just the Start
You know things aren’t going your way when Lance Berkman homers against you! about 2 hours ago via web
Despite an incredible career in Houston, Berkman has really struggled in his two months with the Yankees. His 5th inning, long solo home run gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead, and Berkman wasn’t done yet.
Lance (Berkman) Love
A former teammate and a great Houston writer who covered Berkman for a long time each had positives to say about Berkman. Justice’s comments are interesting. Everything about both players says that they’re terrific people, especially Pettitte.
Yes, TBS and FOX really, really want the Yankees to win because then their rankings go up and up. As much as Twins fans would love a Twins/Rangers ALCS or a Twins/Reds World Series, FOX would be less than happy.
There was a ton of talk after Game 1 about fans who were standing and cheering throughout the game were being told to be quiet and sit down by other fans or by ushers. The Twins Geek was at the game, and he gets pumped up, so when there was another big moment in the game, I implored him to get the Target Field crowd going!
BRUTAL HONESTY OF A CHILD
A little more comic relief. This is just funny! Kids are fun!
That Makes Sense!
That does make some sense. I mean, this isn’t football where a Defensive Back can grab and interception and take it back for a touchdown.
Music to Twins Fans’ Ears
ORLANDO!!!!! AT DAWN!! about 2 hours ago via web
With one out in the bottom of the 6th inning, Orlando Hudson connected with a slider and drilled it well into the left field bleachers to again tie the game at two. I enjoy watching him sprint around the bases when he gets a hold of one.
DELMON!!!! ATTA BOY!! C’MON My Homie!!! about 2 hours ago via web
After a Mauer roll out to 2B on the first pitch he saw, Delmon Young came up and ripped a triple to right centerfield, just off the tip of Curtis Granderson’s glove. Unfortunately, Pettitte got Jim Thome to ground out to end the threat.
THE CALL, THE AFTERMATH
Pavano made two TREMENDOUS pitches there. Deserves better! Go get ‘em GARDY! about 2 hours ago via web
Alright Carl, now you’ve got to strand another one. about 2 hours ago via web
So, there was the bad call. Pavano should have had strike three. How did he handled the bad call? He made a great, low pitch, and Berkman still doubled. And then Gardy went to the mound, and the purpose was obvious. And as you know, Berkman ended up scoring too.
Yes, I have heard a lot of people already say that Gardy should be fired. Yes, I believe that is ridiculous.
WHERE’S THE FIRE?
I want to see Mauer get tossed here. It’s not like he’s hitting at all, and maybe it would actually inspire something. about 1 hour ago via web
I suggested that it would have been nice to see Joe Mauer react to the bad call by the home plate umpire. No, I didn’t really think that Butera was a better option than Mauer. I just wish Mauer had something in him to show some life, some intensity… even some frustration. He’s just so stoic. 99.5% of the time, that’s a great trait. But as said earlier, things are different in the playoffs. It pains me to say that AJ wouldn’t go so quietly.
There was more discussion about the lack of clutch hitting by Twins hitters. Meanwhile, the Twins bullpen continued to pitch well. Jon Rauch came in one out in the 7th to replace Jose Mijares who got the first out on a sacrifice bunt and then intentionally walked Mark Teixeira. Rauch came in and got Alex Rodriguez to strike out and a pop up from Robinson Cano. Rauch showed great emotion coming off the mound having kept the Twins within striking distance.
Valencia = Rookie, Non-Yankee… Pettitte = Pettitte, Yankee… you think the 3-2 pitch was going to be a ball? about 1 hour ago via web
I was still in my bitter stage of the game. Valencia struck out on a borderline pitch around the outside corner to end the bottom of the 7th.
Much is being made of Jason Kubel’s struggles in the playoffs in his career. He is now something like 2-25 with 12 strikeouts. Obviously this is pretty bad, but when he is a career .236 hitter (with a .666 OPS) against left-handed pitchers (including the bad ones), how do we expect him to do against the likes of Sabathia and Pettitte, who he has faced the last two years. So, he may be 0-4 in this series, but I’m impressed that he has walked three times, so he has been on base 42% of the time!
Likewise, Jim Thome is a career .238 hitter against southpaws (with a .763 OPS, which is about .280 lower than against right-handers). Thome is 1-7 in the series with a one walk. Of course, he’s 0-2 against Mariano Rivera and struck out against David Robertson too.
Now Mauer has hit .303 against left-handed pitching in his career, although his OPS is about .180 lower than it is against righties). He is 2-9 in the series with two weak singles.
So Kubel is the one of the three that has clearly produced the most in these two games. The problem is that Kubel and Thome have to play. Who are the options if they don’t? Jason Repko in RF? Alexi Casilla at DH? The Yankees can play Lance Berkman against righties and Marcus Thames against lefties while Austin Kearns sits on the bench.
Of course, Curtis Granderson has hit .215 in his career against lefties with a .621 OPS… and in the playoffs, he hit the big triple off of Francisco Liriano in the four-run sixth of Game 1. That is the beauty and the frustration of Small Sample Size in the playoffs.
It’s not the umps. It’s not the pitching. It’s not Gardy. Offense has stunk tonight through 8. It’s all the Playoff Small Sample Size. Uggh! about 1 hour ago via web
But anyway, I know a lot of people follow me here because I generally am a lot more level-headed than I have been tonight. I apologize! about 1 hour ago via web
And I would be really, really happy if the Twins found a way to beat Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 9th! about 1 hour ago via web
Yeah, this is where I started feeling bad about dwelling on the pitch call to Berkman, and then to Valencia. I felt the need to publically apologize. It took to the 164th game of the season for me to snap.
JeffPassan Hunter Wendelstedt is abysmal. He made 16 bad calls out of 93 pitches Carl Pavano threw. Eight balls in the K zone, eight strikes outside. about 1 hour ago via web Retweeted by you and 24 others
Of course, when I saw the performance of Wendelstedt put into numbers, I had to retweet it, right? At the same time, it showed that he was helped eight times and hurt eight times. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really even things out at the end of the day, does it?
One More Thing, Really?!
I was getting some good support from followers. This one said it was ok for me to suggest that it had a huge impact on the game. I definitely believe that it was the big play of the game. If that’s called a strike, it may still be a tie game!
When was the last time the Twins offense performed well in the postseason? Hard to remember!
This hurts way more than last year… other years. 24 minutes ago via web
I bought in. I truly believe that the team that the Twins have put together in 2010 is significantly better than even the team in 2009. I do believe that this Twins team can and should be able to beat the Yankees. I really thought that if nothing else, the Twins would win a few to even things out a little bit. But here we are, exactly where we were a year ago. The expectations were a lot higher this year.
It is Finished
The Twins were better this year. They clinched nearly two weeks early. They got players some rest so they could go into the playoffs closer to 100% I still want to believe that with right-hander Phil Hughes on the mound in Game 3, the Twins will be able to score some runs and get a win. We shall see. The hope is that if they do, they can do more against CC Sabathia on short-rest in Game 4 and that Nick Blackburn can have that sinker working well. And if all that happens, then Francisco Liriano on full rest could take on Andy Pettitte at home and that they would have momentum. I’m not ready to give up on the Twins yet… but the task ahead just got really, really difficult.
So there you have a it, a quick look through the game through a series of Twitter posts.
A quick reminder to join the TwinsCentric guys and a lot of other Twins bloggers at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park for Game 3. Hopefully we’ll be able to watch a Twins win!
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