Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Greetings from Yankee Stadium

Posted by: Jim Souhan under All-Stars and honors, Professional baseball, Ron Gardenhire, Target Field, Twins fans, Twins management, Twins offense, Twins transactions Updated: April 4, 2011 - 4:22 PM

Why shouldn't the Twins win two or three of these games?

Scott Baker, the Twins' Opening Day starter last year, faces rookie Ivan Nova, a big, strong, sinkerballer. If Baker pitches to his capabilities, the Twins should have a good chance to win. But you just never know what to expect from Baker.

Tuesday, it''s Brian Duensing against C.C. Sabathia. I'm very high on Duensing - I think he'll be one of those smart lefties who has a very long career - but, obviously, this is Advantage: New York.

Wednesday, it's Carl Pavano against Freddy Garcia. An excellent opportunity for Pavano to make up for his Opening Day start and take a jab at all the people who hate him in New York.

Thursday, it's Francisco Liriano against A.J. Burnett. Both are erratic and unpredictable, but Burnett makes Liriano look like Greg Maddux.

The starting pitching matchups dictate that the Twins win two or three of these games, but, of course, that presumes competent work from the bullpen. After Joe Nathan's wild ninth inning on Sunday, Matt Capps will close tonight if necessary. Not many of the relievers inspired confidence this weekend, though, and we know what it's like for a Twins' reliever to try to get those last outs in Yankee Stadium.

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To coin a phrase, I love New York. Got in late last night, walked around the city today. It's hard to explain to someone who hasn't been here how small this island is, and how huge Central Park is in relation to the island. It's such an oasis.

Walked through Times Square, reminding me that when I began coming to New York, Times Square was still a cesspool. Then Giuliani started cracking heads, and now it's an amusement park, only with better restaurants.

Although I'll never understand how someone could travel to Manhattan, and then eat in an Olive Garden in Times Square.

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Chatted with Ron Gardenhire about some of the decisions he had to make on Sunday afternoon. He said he considered pinch-hitting Joe Mauer a number of times, but didn't want to waste Mauer with first-base open, knowing he'd be intentionally walked.

In the eighth, he considered using Mauer to pinch-hit for Drew Butera with two on and runners on second and third. But he had already put Jason Repko and Alexi Casilla in the game, with Casilla taking the DH spot. So if the Jays walked Mauer, then Gardenhire used his last bench player, Jim Thome, to hit for Matt Tolbert, Gardenhire would have been out of bench players and without the DH in a one-run game that could have gone to extra-innings.

If Thome doesn't deliver, Gardenhire would have his pitcher batting and no pinch-hitter or replacements in a tight game. He didn't feel comfortable with that.

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I wrote about the Twins-Yankees ``rivalry'' today, so Joe Christensen covered the Sunday drama for us. I'm still amazed by that bottom of the ninth, and the drama of the entire game. Joe Nathan had nothing on his fastball, so he went to his slider. When he realized the slider didn't work, he had to go to the curve. It was a wonderful piece of survival pitching, but he's going to have to have more stuff to survive.

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Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 each afternoon (other than Thursday), and will run Sunday Morning Sports Talk from our mobile site at Target Field on Sunday, along with Tom Pelissero. Also tweeting a lot on this trip at @Souhanstrib.

 

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