The Evil Empire
While watching the pre-game analysis on television before tonight’s contest, I was amazed to hear that the Twins had not won a series in Yankee Stadium since 2001, when Brad Radke and Joe Mays took two out of three from New York. Now I remember why.
Tonight’s game turned ugly early, with A-Rod blasting off against Blackburn in the first inning, then the Yankees knocking Blackie clean out of the game in the second. “Reliever” (aka Man Without A Position) Boof Bonser didn’t fare much better, giving up home runs to Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter. Both Craig Breslow and Matt Guerrier also were tagged for single runs. Essentially, the Yanks pummeled every pitcher we threw at them to the tune of a 12-4 final score.
To make matters worse, our bats went quiet in the clutch against Sidney Ponson. The Twins collected 9 hits off him in just five innings, but only scored three earned runs. I have a theory that perhaps the Twins get a little too excited at the plate when facing a pitcher they know they SHOULD just tee-off on. That’s exactly what seemed to be happening tonight, as batter after batter would try to do too much and pop the ball up or weakly ground out. Ah, the trials and tribulations of a young team.
A few final thoughts:
-The Twins have never matched up well against the current-generation Yankees…I think they just have too many great hitters in a row for our pitching staff to handle. Our staff is built to prey on the weaknesses of poor hitters by throwing strikes, but the Yanks battle deep into counts and turn those strikes into hard hits. Of course, I’m sure the Twins are not the only team in baseball that feels this way!
-With that being said, though, right now the Twins and Yankees have nearly identical records, and may very well be competing with each for a wild card spot come September. Thus, we need to beat them NOW.
-Finally, the Twins continue to struggle on the road, which is quite scary to me, as they have a few long road trips in the near future. We need to find a way to get Joe Nathan a few bottom-of-the-ninth save opportunities.
Preview (55-44, 2nd, 0.5 GB CWS): Kevin Slowey (6-6, 4.26) vs. Darrell Rasner (5-7, 4.97). The offense needs to be less anxious, and Slowey needs to have his pinpoint control working for the Twins to succeed tomorrow night.