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ALDS Pre-Game: Do Or Die...Again

A common theme, I feel.

  • Joe Mauer will be catching today, playing with a "hip flexor", which basically causes pain any time you try to flex a leg upward; kicking, lifting a knee, that kind of thing.  So, really, not idea for your catcher.  I'm thinking maybe DH'ing Mauer today, for his own good, would be for the best.  With a four-man bench, two of them catchers, I feel it's a move that's pretty much made to order.  This is also the kind of game where I'd trust Mike Redmond to come up with a big hit.
  • Montanatwinsfan noted this earlier, but with Matt Tolbert out due to an oblique strain Brian Buscher is taking his place of the playoff roster.  Brendan Harris will get the nod at third base, and hopefully he can make a play or two like he did back in New York on Friday.
  • Jason Kubel needs to show up today.  Four strikeouts in game two, which is just unacceptable by any measurement of success, showed exactly how overmatched he was.  The bad news is that it's southpaw veteran Andy Pettitte on the mound, which means Kubel's contributions will be harder to come by.  The good news is that pretty much any contribution is better than what he's given the Twins so far.
  • It's a good thing that Carl Pavano is getting a nod at home in the Dome.  I can't imagine what kind of horrible reception he'd get had he started in New York.  Not that he couldn't handle it, because I'm sure he could, but no doubt pitching in front of a crowd that's got your back will be much easier.  Nick Blackburn managed to largely neutralize that great Yankee offense, and Carl will need to do the same.
  • It's hard to look at this series thinking "the Twins have to win three in a row" or "the Twins can't lose".  You still have to take it one day at a time, because it's no use looking to tomorrow until you've won today.  So that's how I'm looking at it:  win today.  Just win today.  Then think about winning tomorrow.  One game at a time.
  • Michael Cuddyer has homered off of Pettitte this year, in Minnesota's one shot at him.  Carlos Gomez and Brendan Harris picked up multi-hit days.  Justin Morneau went 4-for-4, but for some reason I think he's unavailable tonight.
  • The Yankees, meanwhile, have already seen Pavano twice this season, both times when he was with the Cleveland IndiansMark Teixeira is the only Yankee with a homer off him, while Derek Jeter is the only Yankee with more than one hit off him.
  • I like what Bill Smith had to say in Sid Hartman's column today.  No excuses, but with a real understanding of the situation:

"We like our team, we like our players. Any success we have is going to be through scouting and player development. We know we have a great manager and great major league coaching staff. We have a lot of good young players who have come through our system."

  • This could be the swan song for the Metrodome, but I'd like to play at least one more.  Let's take down the Yankees tonight.