[picappgallerysingle id="8493544"]It was a heartbreaker of a night for Minnesota Twins fans as the Twins lost the first game of the ALDS series against the New York Yankees 6-4 – at home. I mentioned earlier that home field advantage doesn’t actually matter much in the ALDS or ALCS, and it would seem that’s true – both AL home teams lost yesterday. I just hope the Twins don’t bring last night’s heartbreak into tonight’s game two and lose to the Yankees again.
I thought last night’s ALDS game one was played fairly well, and I thought that the Yankees and the Twins were well matched, despite the negative press toward the Twins prior to the start of ALDS game one. It’s just that the Yankees came through when they needed to, and the Twins didn’t. I still think the Twins can win the ALDS. It might take five games, but they can do it.
The Francisco Liriano who came out on the field last night was the one Twins fans wanted to see. Liriano gave a terrific performance — that is, until he had a meltdown in the sixth inning, which is weird for Liriano. If he gets through the first two innings unscathed, he’s usually fine. How frustrating.
C.C. Sabathia, whom I had never seen play but have heard much about, just didn’t look that great – for the playoffs, anyway. The Twins did a good job of roughing Sabathia up early, when Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run homer to take an second-inning lead in the game. And when they needed to in the sixth, the Twins roughed up Sabathia again – Danny Valencia drew a four-pitch walk that scored a run to tie the game.
Sabathia was a little mad in the dugout. A walk that score a run to tie up a game is a bad feeling for a pitcher, I guess. For all the talk about C.C. Sabathia and how terrific he is, he was the least of the Twins’ problems in game one of the ALDS.
I felt coming into the game that if the Twins could turn last night’s game against the Yankees into a bullpen game, the Twins would win. Not so. Jesse Crain, who has been lights out for the last couple of months, completely blew it for the Twins by giving up the game-winning, two-run homer to Mark Teixeira in the seventh inning. Alex Rodriguez followed with a single, and that was the inglorious end to Crain’s appearance in ALDS game one.
I feel bad saying it because I like Crain so much, but he really, really blew it, and the Twins never recovered. Crain just needs to brush it off — he’s got the stuff, he just can’t leave it up over the plate. And to be fair, the Twins should have scored in the seventh, and they didn’t.
I have to give a shout-out to Jon Rauch. After I suggested that he not make the playoff roster in favor of Scott Baker (who did make the team instead of Kevin Slowey), Rauch went out and threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Excellent work, Jon Rauch. And while I’m at it, Brian Fuentes looked great, too.
And that was it. There was no life in the bats of the Twins after Jim Thome struck out in the seventh inning on a 3-2 count pitch with two outs, stranding the tying runs at second and third base. I love Thome, but that was brutal.
So, the Minnesota Twins did what everyone feared – they went and dropped game one of the ALDS to the New York Yankees. It’s a difficult spot to be in – the statistics don’t favor the team that loses the ALDS game one. Fifteen of the last 16 teams to head to the ALCS won the first game of the ALDS, according to STATS LLC.
It was brutal night. Let’s hope the Twins can turn it around before they head off to Yankee Stadium. I think the Twins can win tonight, but no meltdowns, please — and stop stranding runners in scoring position, okay?