Pettitte, Berkman lead Yanks to Game Two win


We here at RAB tend to be a pretty analytical in our coverage of the Yankees, typically ignoring intangibles for cold hard facts like those represented in statistics. By definition intangibles can not be measured, so to guess at their value and impact seems foolhardy at best. But at this point, I don’t think there’s any way we can deny that the Yankees are in the heads of the Minnesota Twins. No matter what the Twinkies try to do, whether they play small ball or long ball or who they start, they just can’t seem to beat the guys from New York. That was the case again on Thursday, when the Yanks stuck to their mantra of wearing down the opposing starter down and capitalizing in the later innings.

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Biggest Hit: Berkman Parties Like It’s 2006

Every team needs some unheralded players to step up in the postseason, but in most cases Lance Berkman wouldn’t qualify as that guy. He’s a career .296/.409/.545 hitter with 327 homers, five All Star appearances, and four top five finishes in the MVP voting to his credit. But in a lineup as deep and dangerous as the the one the Yanks’ trot out there every night, Berkman is just a platoon designated hitter that bats eighth. Pretty crazy.

The score was tied at two into the seventh inning, but the most overrated player in the baseball history*, a.k.a. Jorge Posada, worked a six pitch walk to lead things off. It seemed like a logical time to pinch run, but Joe Girardi stayed with his stalwart backstop, and Berkman made sure it was a moot point. Carl Pavano pounded Lance with hard stuff, using sinkers and cutters and regular old four-seamers to get the count even at 2-2 before going to something soft. Just as he did earlier in the game (more on that in a bit), Berkman got a hold of Pavano’s changeup down in the zone and rocketed it out to left-center and over Denard Span’s head.

(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

Of course, like everything else these days, the at-bat was filled with controversy. Home plate ump Hunter Wendelstedt was calling a wide zone all night, but Pavano’s 1-2 sinker to Berkman appeared to catch the inside corner of the plate for what should have been strike three. Wendelstedt called it a ball, and one pitch later the Yanks’ DH doubled in Posada for the go-ahead run. Let’s not understate Posada’s baserunning here; he chugged around from first on the play. It’s wasn’t even two outs either, so he didn’t get a head start. It was all hustle.

Ron Gardenhire got tossed for arguing the non-strike call after the double, but it did no good. I’m sure there was a lot of frustration boiling over. Anyway, too bad, I have no sympathy after the zone Pavano was working with all evening (see below), and Berkman’s double gave the Yankees a lead they would not surrender. The WPA of this sucker was .192 in favor of the good guys.

* Not really

Honorable Mention: Lance, A Lot

Puma hit just one homerun in 123 plate appearances with the Yanks after the trade, but he wasted no time making his mark on the postseason. The Twins took a one-zip lead in the second on a Danny Valencia sacrifice fly, but the Yanks’ third baseman replied with a sac fly of his own in the fourth. One inning later, the Bombers took their first lead of the night when Berkman launched a Carl Pavano 2-0 changeup to the opposite field and into the second (deeper) bullpen. It was a total golf shot, a ball at the shins that he just muscled out to the opposite field. Most teams are lucky to have a third place hitter that can do that. Berkman was hitting eighth for the Yankees tonight. The WPA of this one checked in at .135.

Biggest Outs: Pettitte Escapes The First

(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

For the last few weeks, all we heard about was how the Yankees had no pitching behind CC Sabathia. It was as if they were starting Dustin Moseley and Ivan Nova in Games Two and Three, not Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes. Sure, Pettitte’s final two starts of the season weren’t textbook, but people were treating the guy like he just escaped from the glue factory.

Game Two started much like Game One, with Span singling to lead off the bottom of the first. On Wednesday the Twins did the Yanks a favor by sacrifice bunting him to second, but they learned their lesson and let Orlando Hudson swing away this time around. Pettitte jumped ahead with fastball on the outer black, then did exactly what he planned to do with his second pitch cutter in on the hands. It jammed Hudson, who tapped it back to Andy who started the 1-6-3 twin killing.

Joe Mauer struck out four pitches later and the inning was over after just 16 pitches, but that double play was huge. Minnesota had a chance to not necessarily break things open that early in the game, but they could have built Pettitte’s pitch count up and maybe even scratch out a run or two. Instead they got nothing, letting the Yankee lefthander off the hook. This was completely subjective on my part as far as being the biggest outs, by the way. WPA says Delmon Young’s ninth inning double play was the biggest defensive play by the Yankees, checking in at .094.

The Andy We All Know And Love

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Pettitte’s last two regular season starts lasted all of 7.1 innings combined, and he got smacked around for 19 hits and ten runs in that span. You never would have been able to tell that by how he performed in this game, when he stifled the Twins over seven innings. He surrendered just five hits and a walk while striking out four. He allowed a run in the second after loading the bases thanks to some weak singles and a walk, but that was pretty much all Minnesota got for the night.

Andy retired a dozen in a row from the second through the sixth, a streak that was broken up by Hudson’s game tying solo homer. Pettitte rebounded to end the inning as well as tack on another, handing the ball over to the bullpen with a lead and three measly outs to get before Mariano Rivera came into play.

The 38-year-old lefty was clearly the star of the night for the Yankees, regardless of Berkman’s heroics with the bat. All those questions about the rotation after Sabathia seem pretty silly right now, at least for one night. It was Pettitte’s 19th career postseason win, easily the most of all time. Not enough can be said about his night, he was simply masterful.

(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

The Brian Cashman All-Stars

Fat Elvis wasn’t the only new Yankee to do some damage. No, in fact it was a banner night for Cashman’s latest pickups.

Curtis Granderson, a night after his huge go-ahead triple, picked up three hits including one that drove in an all important insurance run in the top of the ninth. He also scored the first run after reaching on a boomed double off the right-centerfield wall. Setup man Kerry Wood … holy schnikees. He brought the pain in the eighth, striking out J.J. Hardy with one of his trademark knee-buckling curveballs, retiring Span on a weak tapper to the mound, and punching out Hudson with some high gas. It was straight up domination, homes.

Hunter Wendelstedt’s Strike LOL Zone

Look at this disaster…

That’s a look at the strike zone from the catcher’s view. The green squares are balls for the Twins, red squares called strikes. The Yanks are the triangles, green for balls, red for the called strikes. Sure looks like Minny got the benefit of the outside corner to lefties, doesn’t it? What a mess, I can’t wait for the robots.


(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

Ho hum, Mariano Rivera gave up a leadoff broken bat bloop single to Mauer in the ninth, but he then atoned by coaxing an absolute tailor made double ball out of Young. A few pitches later, Jim Thome popped out to the left side for the final out for the second consecutive night. Facing five batters on Wednesday had no ill-effects on The Sandman. Just another day at the office.

In a nice reversal of fortune, the Yanks went 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position, though they did strand the bases loaded in the seventh after Alex Rodriguez and Robbie Cano had chances to put this one to bed early. No harm, no foul I guess.

For the second night in the row, every Yankee in the starting lineup reached base at least once, with Grandy, Mark Teixeira, Berkman, and Brett Gardner doing so multiple times each. Nick Swisher doubled but also grounded into a double play with men on the corners in the fourth with the score tied. That the biggest out(s) made by a Yankee batter at -.138 WPA.

Believe it or not, the Twins have scored first the last eight (!!!) times these two clubs have met in the playoffs, dating back to 2004. The Yankees are 8-0 in those games. Unreal. They now have a commanding two games to none lead in the best-of-five series without enjoying the luxury of a home game yet.

WPA Graph & Box Score

No comeback for you! MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs some other neat stuff.

Up Next

These two clubs will use tomorrow to travel back to New York before resuming the series Saturday night. Hughes gets the ball against former U.S. Olympian Brian Duensing.

Categories : Game Stories, Playoffs


  1. pete says:

    hahaha. One of those pitches registers at 0’0″ horizontally, 0’0″ vertically. LIterally, the strikiest pitch possible.

    • While watching the game, I noticed that if the batter happend to move and/or flinch, Wendelstedt would automatically call the pitch a ball no matter how near or far to the strike zone it was. Odds are good that 0, 0 pitch was called a ball because the batter moved. What a joke.

    • ZZ says:

      It was probably that pitch from Pavano where he missed his location inside really bad and Mauer had to reach across the plate. Smoltz was complaining about it.

      • Esteban says:

        That’s one (of many) thing about umpires that bothers me. Because they set up behind the catcher, they ALWAYS call that pitch a ball. Hey ump, the catcher should have nothing to do with what the pitch is called. I don’t think much can be done about that with humans calling the game since they’ll always have to set up behind the catcher.

        • JohnnyC says:

          It may look dorky but umpires should go back to wearing those balloon protectors. When they used those, they aligned themselves with home plate not where the catcher was crouching.

      • I said it on twitter when it happened, but I think Hunter Wendlestadt has trouble seeing the ball. He calls pitches where the catcher catches the ball and not where the ball crosses the plate. Maddux must have loved him as an umpire.

        • Pasqua says:

          I totally agree with you and thought the same thing last night. It looks like his peripheral vision (if that’s what you would call it in this case) is skewed to his left. He just looked like he couldn’t judge pitches to his right the same way he judged pitches to his left. A wide strike zone is fine and dandy; a wide strike zone on only one side of the plate is alarming.

          • Mickey Scheister says:

            The fact TBS has the pitch tracker for every pitch makes it more notable and even more infuriating. The strike zone seemed to favor the Twins with the naked eye an clearly the data after the game confirmed what we already knew. The worst part IMO was not only the inconsistency of the Ump but that of the TBS booth, as they ONLY mentioned the strike zone if it didn’t favor the Twins when clearly the Yanks had way more to bitch about. Great win, all things considered. Bring out the BROOMS, even degenerative old man eyes can’t stop this team!

    • Tank Foster says:

      Is the square in that strike zone plot an absolute value, or (as I am thinking “normalized” means) is it a composite of the different sized zones required by different batters?

      Whatever….it’s time to have a guy sitting in a booth with a couple of camera angles and the strize zone visual aids calling balls and strikes. Home plate ump is just there to call the other plays.

  2. “We here at RAB tend to be a pretty analytical in our coverage of the Yankees, typically ignoring looking upon vague anecdotal explanations like intangibles with an appropriate amount of healthy and necessary intellectual skepticism, as they are highly prone to confirmation bias and a host of well-meaning but regrettable logical fallacies. Instead, we require that any assertion of fact formulated from such nebulous and suspect origins as “intangibles” be crosschecked by honest logical scrutiny and the known historical record as manifested by cold hard facts like those represented in statistics.”


  3. Every team needs some unheralded players to step up in the postseason, but in most cases Lance Berkman wouldn’t qualify as that guy.

    We’re the Yankees. Our unheralded players are also heralded.

  4. bexarama says:

    Great game. Also, as much as I enjoy the recaps pretty much all the time, I thought this one went above and beyond for whatever reason. Maybe it’s Andy. :3

    Can we still complain about the announcers? Like, I’ve said this, but yesterday I didn’t think they were biased, just bad. Today they were clearly biased toward the Twins, to a like, ridiculous extent. I get why, I totally do. But damn is it irritating. Then again, if I’m a Twins fan, it’s probably more irritating to hear the constant reminders of how goddamn terrible my team has been during the playoffs, especially against the Yankees…

    • iJoel says:

      You should see ESPN..

    • PaulF says:

      They might be biased because they hate the Yankees, but if we give them the benefit of the doubt on that there are a couple reasons they might sound that way:

      1. The Home crowd. When 40,000 people get excited when the Twins do something and silent when the Yankees do, it might be hard to not follow suit. We can test this hypothesis on Saturday.

      2. It is probably in TBS’s best interests that this series go more than three games

    • maurice says:

      Either way, I’d rather have that one idiot and Smoltz calling a game than Buck friggin Martinez and that dbag from NESN. You might not think its that bad, but once you’ve had 100+ blue jays games shoved down your throat with the most monotonous, high-pitched dumbass reminding you of every menial statistic every inning (JOSE BAUTISTA WITH FORTY-EIGHT HOME RUNS), I couldn’t care less. The only announcer worse than Martinez is Mark Grace.

    • MikeD says:

      The beauty of being in a bar and watching the game is I couldn’t hear the announcers, only see the game.

    • Josh S. says:

      Seriously, John Smoltz has some chip on his shoulder against the Yankees. I guess it sucks for him that he lost to them in the WS in ’96 and ’99, but then again, he lost to the Twins in the WS in ’91. He really hates the Yankees and it shows by the way he was basically rooting for the Twins to come back last night, which is just unprofessional if you’re a broadcaster. He just has no business calling this series. He should be out in SF cheering on his no-hope Braves.

      I actually listened to Sterling and Suzyn on the radio while watching the game because I had enough of EJ, Smoltz and Darling. There was only a slight delay in which I would see a pitch on TV and then a second later hear Sterling call the pitch, so it wasn’t terribly bad.

    • Pasqua says:

      I think Darling is the key to understanding the difference between biased and boring. On the Mets broadcasts, he is insightful and focused; on TBS, he is general in his commentary and only focuses on positives.

      That, to me, is the problem with national broadcasts. These guys have to presume that a large chunk of their audience doesn’t know the teams. We literally get the “…For Dummies” version of commentary. It’s boring and aggravating, but not biased, in my opinion.

    • Chris says:

      I don’t really think they’re that biased. They sound more excited during big plays for the Twins, but I think that’s just because the stadium was so loud. They try to talk over the crowd noise (even if they don’t really have to) and it sounds like they’re thrilled for the Twins. When the Yankees score, the place is dead and they can talk normally.

      • Tank Foster says:

        Agree. I didn’t think they were biased. I thought Smoltz and the other guy (Darling? Hernandez?) were fine. Ernie Johnson isn’t anything great, but I’ll take him over Joe Buck any day. Did they quote any payroll numbers? Buck does that every game or so.

  5. DSFC says:

    Gardy can kiss my ass after that atrocity of a strike zone. The Assman got the XXL strike zone all night long, and he’s going to go bitch about one borderline pitch? Give me a break. 13 outside the zone called strikes versus 2 for Andy….and THEY’RE the ones who got umped? Cry me a river, Ernie Johnson.

    It wasn’t the shellacking I so desperately wanted, but a win’s a win. I know they might not have a shot at him given the circumstances, but man would I love to see Kerry Wood return. Dude is dominant. Still has good heat and still has the wicked bender.

    • For a second, I thought you meant Gardner because we call him Gardy, but then I realized you meant Ron Gardenhire. Then, I agreed with you.

      Great story.

      • DSFC says:

        heh, I should have been more specific. A good friend who’s a Twins fan is always going on about what a great manager “Gardy” is, so it’s stuck in my head. I’ve always been partial to Gritner for Brett. Gardy is too close to Grandy anyway.

        Anyway, the comments on FanGraph’s Twins review is interesting – near universal refutation of the writer’s front and center mention of the call, with several posting the link to the pitch chart.

    • Pete says:

      Love the Wood Man and what he’s done lately. Here’s hoping, between him, Logan and Robertson, we don’t see as much of Joba…

      Cashman looks like a friggin’ evil genius right now, and I’m loving it.

  6. iJoel says:

    Is anyone surprised that Texas is giving TB an A** whoopin? I’m not really surprised much I’m just surprised that they are absolutely shutting them down in St. Pete no less. I really don’t know why most analysts had TB in 3 or 4.. I saw no one giving Texas the edge

    • Pat D says:

      My only comment about that game. Believing the fallacy of the predetermined outcome, it didn’t much matter if Young struck out or not because Tampa still couldn’t hit the fucking ball!!

      Also, when they’re talking about replay and not using it on balls/strikes (which I agree it should not be used on) because they are “judgment calls,” well aren’t all calls “judgment calls?”

    • DSFC says:

      Not surprising – Cliff Lee dominating
      Surprising – Price not dominating
      Not surprising – Shields getting bombed. What the hell was Maddon thinking throwing Shields ahead of Garza??
      Surprising – Wilson dominating

      Overall, I think the series is surprising because of how one sided its been.

    • steve (different one) says:



  7. Pat D says:

    OK, I’m stupid, I guess. On these strike zone plots, is the point of view the home plate umpire looking at the mound or the pitcher looking at the plate? I’m guessing it’s the former, but…please someone tell me for sure.

  8. maurice says:

    I loved that two-seamer in either the second or third from Pavano, right down the middle for a ball. Funniest Pavano look ever (besides the eighteen times doctors drew dicks on his face while undergoing surgery)

  9. ZZ says:

    The DP in the first was exactly the type of thing I was talking about last night with Jeter’s defense. That was simply a great play. Hard to believe how routine he made it look in just one fluid motion.

    Derek Jeter is a good defensive SS and his defense has been big for the Yankees the past 2 nights.

  10. TechN9ne says:

    Andy has proven time and time again that he has ice water in his veins and is a big game pitcher!

    The bottom line , dude knows how to WIN!

  11. Andrew518 says:

    I understand completely that in the post season every call will be analized to death but this is getting silly. ESPN is spending more time talking about percieved missed calls than anything else in any of the games that were played tonight. I just don’t understand ESPN’s seemingly personal crusade for instant replay.

    Crucial point in the game yes…but if all they show and talk about is the borderline pitch to Berkman, failing to show or mention that the previous two strikes called on him were clearly outside.

    The zone was consistantly off for both teams all night nothing in everything out.

    Could Posey have been called out? Sure…but if Braves don’t score any runs they aren’t going to win anyhow.

    How many close check swings are there in a game 3? 4? One call didn’t sink TB tonight.

    Sorry to rant but I’m stuck at work and am watching SportsCenter for the 3rd time. Please ESPN talk about the actual games.

    • Esteban says:

      Yea What’s bothering me is the focus on that one supposed strike 3 to Berkman without looking at any other pitch in that at bat (or game). It should have been only strike 2 anyway.

    • bexarama says:

      To be fair, if that Posey call goes the right way, it’s not like the Giants score any runs either (#fallacyofthepredeterminedoutcome). Yeah the Braves could’ve made a better pitch to whoever drove in the run but come on.

      Also, maybe I saw it from a bad angle, but I really thought that check swing on Young was borderline. Could’ve gone either way. Anyway, the Rays lose even if Young is punched out (again, #fallacyofthepretederminedoutcome).

      There really needs to be instant replay. It’s awful that there are so many totally obvious blunders IN THE PLAYOFFS. But yes, talk about the games.

    • steve (different one) says:

      The annoying thing is that it’s only controversial b/c Berkman made it so. Just as Thome had a chance to make it so the night before.

      So, b/c Berkman is awesome and Thome hit a weak fly, one call is going to be considered “worse”. It’s silly.

    • Pete says:

      Rant schamnt. You have a TV with ESPN on at work?

  12. art vandelay says:

    i know they don’t count postseason stats with regular season but i think on TBS said it was mo’s 600th career save. kinda cool.

    • Andrew518 says:

      Best Ever. (closer)

      End of argument.

      • JGS says:

        I mean, that shouldn’t be the end of the argument. The saves leader has far too often been a lousy pitcher.

        • Andrew518 says:

          I feel as if his whole body of work speaks for itself.

          Rivera certainly has been more than just a statistical leader, sheer number of regular season saves combined with post season success (to put it rather mildly) 1+inning saves etc. Really? Not the best ever?

          (i guess not) end of argument.

          • JGS says:

            Rivera absolutely is the best closer ever, but not because he accumulates saves. Brian Fuentes led the majors in saves last year and now he is a LOOGY. Joe Borowski led the AL in 2007 with a 5.07 ERA.

            The rest of Mo’s body of work speaks for itself, and I didn’t mean to suggest that Mo wasn’t the best ever at what he does. He 100% is.

      • TLVP says:

        You mean “Argument closed”

      • NYY Fan says:

        I would say he is one of the best Pitchers, not just closers EVER. His pinpoint control and consistent delivery are unbelievable. It is hard to understand that he has been this dominant with just one pitch his entire career. I am not sure there has ever been a pitcher that could survive, let alone thrive, with just the one pitch. It wasn’t until the last few years that he developed the 2-seamer so he could throw something that broke into the right-handed hitters. Before that he just relied on movement and location of the one pitch. He is a master!

        Side note: Has anyone noticed that Mo’s velocity is up a little since he “fixed” his mechanics. He had been throwing at 88-90 all year and then he got his hand more on top of the ball about two weeks ago and he was at 92 in the first two games.

    • JGS says:

      Yup. Trevor Hoffman managed a whole four postseason saves (making the all-time record 605). He needs five more this postseason to tie–possible, but not likely.

    • smurfy says:

      Big howdy, Arturo from silver. Mo is live art, he is grace in motion.

  13. Matt DiBari says:

    Going to Game 3. Hope to see them clinch

  14. ZZ says:

    The umpiring has gotten so bad in MLB that replay will be only a band aid. At some point Selig will cave and institute replay and everyone will be happy, but the core issue still would not have been addressed and major problems will still exist. Replay cannot possibly account for all the mistakes that are made by the umpires nowadays.

    There needs to be a system of accountability along with health/fitness and eyesight requirements. The lack of a system like this is what creates most of the problems and anyone looking to replay as some sort of saving grace will be disappointed at the end of the day.

    • JGS says:

      Replay can fix most of them though. I think we all know that balls/strikes review will never happen (that would mess with the pace of the game) but most of the more egregious calls can be easily reversed. That’s part of what makes the whole situation so infuriating.

    • We have K zone, we have instant replay, we can have baseball with no human error but will it ever happen? Nope.

      • Andrew518 says:

        Hell, we’ve got algorythims that can predict the results of the season so why even have humans play it in the first place.

        • Esteban says:

          Yes, because the human element we love about baseball comes from the umpires!

          Strawman: 0

          • Andrew518 says:

            Obviously being sarcastic,

            but sorry I disagree, that instant replay improves the game. I just don’t believe that total accuracy means better. I suppose it’s a quaint notion but I believe that umpires mistakes are undeniably a part of the fabric of the game. Mistakes make things interesting and happen in real life not just sport. Sport is in a way a reflection of real life.

            Personally Jeffery Maier catching Jeter’s “Home Run” is a major peice of my life experience, it plays alot differently if he is called out on review as he would be today.

            Baseball wouldn’t have the same personallity if it weren’t for Earl Weaver’s tirades or Sweet Lou kicking his hat.

            Galaraga may have been robbed of officially pitching a perfect game but we all know he did it. He statistically may never get the credit but history will probably show that he pitched the most famous (perhaps aside from Larson) perfect game ever.

            We all hate to get burned by a bad call, it certainly would have been crushing if Thome had tied the game last night, but yes they do eventually go your way.

            Baseball is a quaint game and I believe has room for quaint notions.

            • Esteban says:

              Ha okay didn’t get the sarcasm. I prefer when players decide what happens, not bad calls. I guess we can agree to disagree.

            • FachoinaNYY says:

              I honestly can’t see a circumstance where total accuracy isn’t better (other than when a bad call goes your way). In the long run, total accuracy means the better team has a better chance to win. The Yanks are often the better team, therefore total accuracy would be a good thing (in general and for the yanks).

            • JerseyDutch says:

              “I suppose it’s a quaint notion but I believe that umpires mistakes are undeniably a part of the fabric of the game. Mistakes make things interesting and happen in real life not just sport. Sport is in a way a reflection of real life.”

              Well said and I totally agree. While it’s frustrating when calls go against us — especially in the playoffs — they tend to even out over the course of a season. We get some favorable calls, we get some unfavorable calls.

    • MikeD says:

      I don’t think umpiring is any worse than it’s ever been, and it’s possible it could be better. What we have now is tons of different camera angles, high resolution cameras, HDTV, super slow motion, and graphics showing where every pitch is in relations to the strike zone.

      It’s odd. On every play, there’s only on group of people in the world who don’t have access to instant replay: The people making the calls. The umpires!

      • seimiya says:

        This. I can only wonder what we’d see if we could go back in history and use instant replay on other (historical) games.

      • ZZ says:

        I have to disagree with this because I am not using those things the vast majority of the time when I notice umpire inaccuracy. All those things obviously help to confirm especially on extremely close plays, but I find that watching the game on TV I am very rarely wrong once they show the replay.

        The umpires have progressively gotten lazier, more out of shape, and more egotistical in the sense that they inject themselves in the game. They also set up differently behind the catcher now than in the past.

        I don’t blame people who make this argument because it is made all the time and certainly reasonable, but I have never agreed with it over the years I’ve watched the game.

        • Then again how many people think Jim Joyce is the worst umpire ever? Yet the players and managers (and pitchfx agrees) says he’s one of the best umpires in the game. Honestly I don’t think they can win sometimes because their good calls are never talked about.

          That said, they could certainly use replay help.

          • ZZ says:

            That’s true.

            Umpires and managers seem to be evaluated in the same way by baseball fans in my opinion. Never get any credit for the good calls/moves and the focus is completely on the bad calls/moves.

            • Yeah, it was funny how after Orlando Cabrera complained about the strike zone in the Halladay no hitter, people called him a whiny baby instead of pointing out that the umpire called a fantastic game.


              He missed, what, 4 calls all game that weren’t borderline? That’s about a perfect zone as you’re going to see yet no one gave him credit for it even after he was incorrectly criticized.

  15. Mariano's Pimp Hand says:

    I work night so I miss a lot of the Yanks games but when I went home Thursday morning MLB network was replaying Wednesday’s game. Needless to say I was LATE getting to sleep. I’m hoping they will be replaying last nights game this morning.

  16. Wil Nieves #1 Fan says:

    Andy was just…wow. Great pitching performance from an all around winner. Andylicious….

  17. pollo says:

    I’ve never seen such a shitty recap of that game other than what that other fangraphs writer (not Joe) wrote. What a fucking toolbag. I can’t believe that site can still pass as objective trash.

  18. Across the pond says:

    Adam Jones tells the Twins what they need to do to beat the Yankees…because he’s done it so often in his career :/

    SI video

  19. Mike Nitabach says:

    (1) Great game!

    (2) I am very skeptical of all this whining that umpiring is “worse than it’s ever been”.

  20. Sean C says:

    Is it just me, or does it seem like this Yankee team has been underrated by ESPN and the mass media? It seems like people are surprised that the Yanks took the first two games of the series away from YSIII. Of course this is confirmation bias, but seriously, did people expect the Yankees to get bounced by the Twins?

    • FachoinaNYY says:

      IMO that has solely been caused by the tailspin this team took the last month of the season. Before that, ESPN was all over this teams nuts. We were really rolling and the starting pitching was dominant early/middle of the season. Either way all that matters is we are up 2-0. We need a big start from St. Phil so we don’t give the twins an ounce of hope.

  21. CharlieChooChoo says:

    Read the twinkie game thread last night. We bought the umpires. We bought the players. We bought all the fans beer and they lost their cheering zone. I think we paid off the mascot as well.

    And the announcers were biased TOWARD us.

    There’s also a Mets fan on there rooting hard for the Twinkies. Saying that now they can see what they (Mets fans) go through all season long. All season long?

    And of course the Berkman strike blown call was the reason we won. That and paying everyone off.

    One funny comment was when Mo came in, someone wrote “It’s not a fast ball. It looks like a fastball when it’s coming at you, but then it cuts in making it hard to hit. Just a tip Twins.”

    • Sean C says:

      “One funny comment was when Mo came in, someone wrote “It’s not a fast ball. It looks like a fastball when it’s coming at you, but then it cuts in making it hard to hit. Just a tip Twins.””

      It’s sad that even a fan of a team getting owned by it doesn’t understand what a cutter is. Mo is going into the HOF on ONE pitch. His body of work follows this. Any pitcher throwing a cutter owes it to Mo that He and He alone is the master.

    • smurfy says:

      that’s all choice, as in tasty-ridiculous, and as in how important choice is to perspective.

    • JerseyDutch says:

      “There’s also a Mets fan on there rooting hard for the Twinkies.”

      Which says a lot about Mets fans. I would never root against a New York team in competition with a non-New York team. I might not root for them, but never against them.

  22. larryf says:

    How about the bunting skills of the Great Grittsky? Often criticized, he is showing us that he can, in fact, lay it down. Now if he would just steal second on the first pitch to Jeter cause the Captain is not a pitch taking machine….

    Looks like Grandy batting second over Swish worked out pretty well….

  23. Jon in CUO says:

    Pretty incredible game by Andy, considering the zone he had to work with. Intangibles are hard to measure, but there’s something to be said for a pitcher who knows he’s getting jobbed by the home plate umpire yet doesn’t blow up on the mound and give up a big inning. Great all-around team win, but last night belonged to #46.

  24. kendubrowski says:

    I listened to Francesa say he can’t stand Berkman the other day, but I liked this trade at the time and felt that Lance would do well in the playoffs. I think Berkman is going to provide more key hits like last night and that could only help lengthen the batting order. I know that the lineup has not produced as it did last year with clutch hitting even while leading the league in runs scored but if Grandy and Berkman hit as they did last night that can change.

    • To be fair, Mike just said he wasn’t the biggest Berkman fan, which usually is his way for trying to justify irrational hatred for a player. They picked him up for basically nothing but money and fringe reliever, it woulda been silly to not like the trade.

  25. Yank the Frank says:

    I could not believe that Jorge scored from first it was amazing to see.

    • Yank the Frank says:

      I could not believe that Jorge scored from first it was amazing to see. Actually, not to see, the camera work was piss poor and only picked up Jorge on the way back to the dugout.

      • CBean says:

        The camera work was terrible. I think at one point I saw Puma at bat and then Jeter and I was like, wait, what happened to Gardner? And they just had never showed his at bat at all.

        That being said, I shouted liked crazy when I realised Jorgie scored from first. That was a surprise! Go Sado, Go!

    • larryf says:

      if he had been thrown out, the criticism for not pinchrunning would have been long and loud. Hey-we are on a roll and it is a good time for it.

      • steve (different one) says:

        true, and if Berkman strikes out and the game goes into extra innings and Cervelli comes up in a big spot or two, he’d have been ripped for pinch running.

        see how easy it is to be a manager? just wait for the future and make all your decisions with hindsight. that’s how the fans do it.

    • Pasqua says:

      Luckily the ball was his deep enough that Jorge was able (I assume) to go all the way to second base before it fell in. Once the ball bounced over Span’s head, the rest was easy.

  26. larryf says:

    The Berkman haircut..the transformation to a Yankee has begun! How does a guy who is so physically unimpressive hit a baseball that far and that hard? The pitch he hit for a double was a few inches off the ground.

    • Betty Lizard says:

      How does a guy who is so physically unimpressive hit a baseball that far and that hard?

      And this is a guy who is batting 8th!

      I laughed when one announcer described Berkman as “country strong” and said Alex Rodriguez teased Berkman about being in the weight room, saying it must be the postseason.

      I love Berkman. Just love him, and have quite the little crush on him. I’ve been hoping he will have a monster post season, and he’s well on his way. I tell you, it’s the haircut!

    • The guy has 350+ homers in his career, not like he’s always had no power. To muscle that ball 430 feet to the opposite field was pretty amazing.

    • steve (different one) says:

      the guy is gigantic. it looks like his bat is a toothpick.

  27. I’m surprised you guys didn’t give your opinion on the Granderson bunt, it was the source of much debate in the game thread (which was much more sane yesterday, good job everyone) last night :P

    Anyway, bullet style observation points from yesterday:

    - Andy was still a bit rocky with his command early on, he missed badly in the middle of the plate a few times and had some luck on his side when guys either took it or fouled it off. It seemed like once he got out of that bases-loaded jam he settled in and pounded his spots. The Twins started to press and swing early in the count, and he took full advantage of it.

    - The offense is downright scary right now. Who isn’t seeing the ball well? Swish, kinda? But even he has a couple singles and a booming double in the series already. A-rod hasn’t had a huge hit yet but he’s getting on base and taking walks. For all the talk about the Yankees rotation problems the MSM seemed to ignore the effect this offense has. Liriano and Pavano (aided by the umpire) had pretty good stuff and the Yankees put up 11 runs against them and their bullpen. Deep and thick, some might say.

    - Kerry Wood put up a mini-highlight reel against JJ Hardy. His third pitch, I dunno what it was (Gameday called it a slider but it was clocked at 90mph and moved like a really hard cutter) was downright nasty. Then he dropped a 11″ break curve on the inside corner. Fap.

    - I wish everyone “did nothing for the Yankees before today” like Berkman had. He was hitting like .400 for 2 weeks after he came off the DL, but I guess some fans aren’t the only ones who don’t remember anything but big hits. Berkman wasn’t just some rook with a bad track record coming into this game, I dunno why everyone is acting so surprised that he came through.

    -Granderson is hitting .500/.500/.875 in the series, ho hum. I miss Austin Jackson and Phil Coke so much.

  28. Brian in NH says:

    So there is a lot of talk here, and I think that its mostly true, that the Main Stream Media dislikes the yankees, and its gets more eyes and ears on something when they hate on or downplay the yanks. But like…at the same time i feel like the tea party/sarah palins where they are always like “the main stream media does get us and are trying to discredit us”

    idk..just getting that feeling

  29. Guest says:

    I know I should stop doing this, but I couldn’t help myself from reading this monstrosity that Matthews put together on Berkman:


    He spends pretty much the entire article bagging on one of the heroes from last nights game and tosses in the fact that he played well last night almost as a narrative ruining aside.

    What’s worse is he completely cherry picks a few elements of Lance’s time with the Yanks during the regular season to paint a completely negative picture, while completely ignoring the fact that Lance was an OBP machine for the majority of his period in pinstripes.

    Good gosh man, do they think it makes them more objective to accentuate the negative and ignore the positive? I thought one had to present the entire story to be a good, objective journalist.

    Rant ended.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Stop reading Matthews. It’s bad for your digestion.

    • steve (different one) says:

      it is amazing that ESPN tabbed such a bitter-Yankee hater to cover the Yankees for ESPN NY. I’m not looking for homerism, but could ESPN be any more obvious? Why not hire Simmons? I mean, Ian “A-Rod is worse than Hitler” O’Connor and Wallace Matthews?? Was Lupica busy??

      • Guest says:

        I actually Simmons would probably be more fair, because he at least admits his biases and notes where those biases color his analysis.

    • pete says:

      you read it. that’s why they hired him. RAB-style in-depth analysis is not nearly as marketable as irrational fear mongering and controversy-stirring.

  30. ZZ says:

    MLB sent out a notice last night that one of their executives will be representing the umpires for any questions.

    Less accountability. Genius.

  31. mike c says:

    CG is quickly becoming my favorite player

  32. pat says:

    I love how no Twins fans mention the 1-0 pitch 7 inches off the plate that Berkman took for strike 1.

  33. Zanath says:

    I’m feeling pretty good about the way the team is playing. I think Hughes is gonna come up big for us. The only thing I worry about with him is the amount of time he has had between his last appearance (and it’s even more from his last start). Other than that, I am not concerned about his ability to pitch in a big game. He already showed us with that game against the Red Sox that he has the composure. Hopefully he’s not too rusty.

  34. larryf says:

    The Brettsky steal of third was pure speed. He had a very small lead and just never picked his head up until he looked at the ump call him safe. I love that weapon.

  35. TicoRules says:

    I’m really worried about this team. Without home field advantage, their destined to fail. Wait, what?

  36. Can we use different colors other than red and green for the strike zone graph? It will be easier for those of us who are colorblind to read.

  37. TicoRules says:


  38. Mike HC says:

    I don’t think we are in the Twins head. I just think we are always far better than them.

    Agreed about Berkman. He used to be depended on to get all the hits, and now, anything he does is a positive.

    And that was some of the worst umpiring I have seen.

    • Mike HC says:

      I also hated when Girardi bunted Granderson, our hottest hitter, essentially also taking the bat out of Tex’s hands too, our second hottest hitter. Terrible move there.

    • Kit says:

      I don’t think the Yankees are in the Twins’ head either, but it doesn’t make an interesting story to just say, “Yeah, they’re not as strong as the Yankees overall,” so the media feels the need to explain their losses away by claiming they’re crazy instead.

    • vin says:

      “I don’t think we are in the Twins head.”

      Agreed. Especially when those in the MSM talk about the Twins futility vs. the Yanks dating back to the ’03 and ’04 playoffs.

      ’03 ALDS:
      Cuddyer – 4 PA’s

      ’04 ALDS:
      Cuddyer – 15 PA’s
      Kubel – 7 PA’s

      Nathan and Morneau were on the ’04 team, but they’re obviously not playing this year.

      The fact that the Yanks have dominated the Twins in the past 4 playoff meetings is because the Yanks have been better (and perhaps a bit luckier). Not because they’re in the Twins’ heads.

  39. vin says:

    The Brian Cashman All-Stars

    I love it.

  40. Guys, question: I got SRO tickets for tomorrow’ game in section 212S, anyone have a review??? PLEASEEEEE

  41. [...] turning a brilliant performance while Lance Berkman did the damage with the stick for a win and a two games to none series lead. Pettitte benefited from the strike zone, and the Yanks showed that they’re going to ride [...]

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