First Pitch: 6:07pm CDT
Radio: Twins Radio Network
Know Thine Enemy: Pinstripe Alley
- In his two starts against the Yankees this year, the Bombers are batting .224/.327/.255. If he can somehow duplicate those numbers tonight, the Twins will have their chance without having to out-slug New York.
- It was a long time ago, but Pavano has a 1.40 post-season ERA.
- Right-handers hit Pavano better than lefties, so keeping runners off the bases for big hitters like Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher is a must.
- It doesn't matter where you pitch the Yankees--they can hit a home run no matter how "down in the zone" you get. Pavano will need to have movement on his slider and his hard, sinking fastball. All of his pitches will need to be thrown for strikes, or at the very least thrown from time to time so the Yankees know he's using them. If New York can get Pavano to work from behind and rely on his fastball, this game could get ugly very, very quickly.
- If you were Carl Pavano, would you have added incentive for pitching against the Bombers in the post-season? I know I would.
- Over Pettitte's last five regular season starts, he allowed 17 walks. His control definitely hasn't been as good this year.
- In spite of the added walks, base runners as a whole are down. Pettitte actually has more innings pitched than hits allowed for the first time since 2005.
- More balls in play are turning into fly balls than ever before for Pettitte, but he's still not giving up as many homers as you might think based on percentage. 20 for a full-time starter is acceptable anyway, but only 8.9% of fly balls are going over the fence, which is about two percent better than average.
- A majority of Pettitte's pitches are delivered as fastballs and cut-fastballs. He will mix in a few breaking balls, and even fewer changeups, but it's the cutter and that curveball that have been his most effective pitches this season.
- Looking at some quick splits Pettitte is much better on turf than grass, and he also controls right-handed batters much better than left-handed batters. If Kubel is going to do some damage against a southpaw, Pettitte is probably his guy.
- As a playoff pitcher, Pettitte has over 200 innings under his belt and is known for being a "big game pitcher". In that time he's amassed a very respectable 3.96 ERA, while allowing just 1.35 base runners per inning. His strikeout rates are a bit lower than his career averages, but so are his walk rates. It looks like he tries to be a bit more careful and methodical, but it works. No doubt the Twins will have their work cut out for them today.