Pavano, Abreu Nuke Twins.
Well that was sobering. Following what turned out to be solid and effective starts from Ramon Ortiz and Carlos Silva (12 IP, 3 R), free agent Sidney Ponson came in tonight looking to take down the Yankees. Late last week he told Rick Anderson he wanted Silva to pitch against the White Sox, so that his own turn would come up against his former team. As much as you like the competetive nature, it doesn't help you get over 10 hits, 3 walks and 8 runs in 5.2 innings.
Not everything Ponson threw was trash. To his credit he was consistently putting his pitches around the plate, and you could even make an argument that home plate umpire Greg Gibson was squeezing the strike zone (only six strikeouts all game). This forced Ponson to be over the plate constantly, but where the Yankees capitalized on hittable pitches the Twins were hapless as Carl Pavano stunted the offense like coffee stunts your first grader.
Over seven innings, the often injured Pavano allowed six hits and surrendered no walks. He painted the corners of the plate, and had Twins hitters biting on high heat and low breaking pitches. This is the pitcher the Yankees thought they were getting when they acquired him after the 2004 season from the Marlins. There was nothing the Twins could lay off of.
Twins highlights were few and far between tonight. Castillo, Mauer and Cuddyer, the hottest hitters on the club, each collected a hit. Torii Hunter collected two hits, raising his average to .227. On his second hit, he made excellent contact, pulling the ball to deep left field over the stumbling Melky Cabrera's head for a double and RBI. On the mound, Guerrier, Reyes and Neshek combined for 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk.
This was the style of game that isn't quite as hard to swallow when you remember that the season is long, and that even the best teams in baseball have these games. No doubt there will be numerous times this year when the Twins will be on the other side of the ball, and numerous more like this one where we'd rather have our heads in a hole. Still, this doesn't mean this performance shouldn't leave us shaking our heads.
Tomorrow matches veteran once-and-current Yankee Andy Pettitte and his offense against Boof Bonser and his hook. If Bonser can keep his fastball down and his breaking ball accurate, the Yankees will have a much more difficult time accruing runs.
Chin up, kids.