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Postgame: Pavano's magic act, Morneau and more

  • Blog Post by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • April 17, 2012 - 12:12 AM

The Twins beat the Yankees 7-3 on Monday at Yankee Stadium, snapping a three-game losing streak.,

Here are three things on my mind as I prepare to go out into the New York night and try to find my hotel room.

1. We forget about Morneau: The Twins have a crummy playoff record against the Yankees, but Justin Morneau has not played in the postseason since 2006. You wonder how different things would have been in 2009 and 2010 if Morneau would have been healthy and able to pair with Mauer against the Yankees. Morneau crushes the ball here. He put one of his vintage swings on that Freddy Garcia pitch in the sixth inning.

2. Lexi smooth at second: Alexi Casilla had a play of the day nominee in the eighth inning when he dived to his right to grab Robinson Cano's grounder and flipped to Jamey Carroll, who made a barehanded grab to force Curtis Granderson. Casilla doubled in three official at-bats but played very well defensively.

3. The shifting: Teams are really starting to swing defenses on the Twins. We've seen the Mauer and Morneau shifts, but the Yankees used a Morneau-like shift on Ryan Doumit and the Yankees had Robinson Cano playing near the second base bag when Danny Valencia batted with a runner on first base in the eighth. Mark Teixeria was holding Ryan Doumit on at first, so I could have bunted the ball in the hole for a hit. (O.K., that's a stretch). Valencia, however, drove a ball to the wall in right  for an RBI double. Let's see how the Yankees play them tomorrow.

3a. Pavano's magic act. Yankee fans booed him as he walked in from the bullpen before the game. They haven't forgotten the four years here that he pitched poorly (when he was healthy) and earned $40 million. When Jeter and Granderson led off with homers, it looked like Pavano was going to get run out of the park. But he made adjustments, used his change up very effectively and last seven - seven - innings despite his hardest fastball coming in at 89 miles an hour.

Pavano had to enjoy beating the Yankees here after taking so much abuse while he was here.

"No,'' he said. "I mean, it wasn’t about coming in here and putting everything behind me. Everything that I went through is behind me. It was about coming in here and getting this team back on track. We had sputtered a little coming into this series; I’m the top guy on the staff, I had to set the tone. That was my focus.”
“I’ve been around long enough to know I was just making bad pitches; it’s about making adjustments and going from there.”

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