Results tagged ‘ Ron Gardenhire ’
How about the pitching moves in the Yankees-Twins series?
Tuesday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi lifted starter Phil Hughes in the seventh inning for Boone Logan, who failed to protect a 3-1 lead in a game the Yanks eventually lost, 5-4.
Wednesday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire lifted starter Samuel Deduno in the second inning because the righthander had left eye irritation. Lefthander Brian Duensing retired his first two batters and then allowed the next seven Yankees reach base on five hits and two walks with a wild pitch thrown in for good measure as the Bombers turned a 1-0 deficit into a 6-1 advantage.
The Yanks’ lineup had a different look as Ichiro Suzuki batted leadoff and Derek Jeter second, a reverse of recent games. Absent from the batting order was third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who sustained a bruised left foot Tuesday night on a foul ball in his eighth inning at-bat.
Robinson Cano, who had three hits Tuesday night, continued to swing the bat with authority as he doubled in two runs in the six-run third inning. Nick Swisher extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single, and Curtis Granderson tripled in two runs. Duensing, who gave up hits to five left-handed batters, gave the Yankees a free run as well with that wild pitch.
Part of the rally was a single by Suzuki, whose hitting streak has reached 10 games.
The Twins’ run off CC Sabathia in the second inning was driven in on a single by Matt Carson. Yankees fans who pay attention to players in the minor leagues may recall the name. Carson was a fifth-round pick of the Yankees in the First Year Player Draft of 2002 and spent six seasons in the organization before he was released after the 2008 season. Carson, an outfielder, played in the Oakland and Tampa Bay organizations over three seasons before coming to the Twins and their Triple A Rochester affiliate this year at age 30 still pursuing the major-league dream. Good for him.
If they didn’t know better, Yankees fans might have thought post-season play had already started. Watching how easily the Yankees dismissed the Twins Friday night had to remind everybody of the American League Division Series games between these teams over the years.
The 8-1 victory marked the 15th time the Yankees have beaten Minnesota in their last 18 games and the 21st time in the past 24 overall games, including the Bombers’ three-game sweeps in the ALDS of 2010 and 2009. Throw in the four-game victories over the Twinkies in the ALDS of 2003 and ’04 and the Yanks have a 61-19 record against the Minnesota squads managed by Ron Gardenhire since 2002.
Frequent readers know how painful it for me to write this because of my regard for Gardenhire, who I have had the pleasure to know for 30 years going back to my time covering the Mets when he was a rising young infielder who never made it past the utility stage. Fact is, the numbers do not lie, and when it comes to numbers, the Yankees have the Twins’.
Minnesota has been devastated by injuries this year, but even when they were on all cylinders the Twins struggled against the Yankees. Friday night, they actually took the lead in the first inning on a home run by Trevor Plouffe off Phil Hughes. That would be the extend of the damage allowed by Hughes, who with each start has looked more and more like the pitcher who won 18 games a year ago.
Hughes didn’t allow another hit until one out in the eighth inning. Phil pitched into the eighth for the first time all season and has pitched six-plus innings in each of his past four starts, a stretch in which he has lowered his ERA from 9.47 to 5.45. Hughes had only two strikeouts, but he threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of 27 batters that put the Twins on the defensive all night.
It wasn’t that long ago that Hughes seemed headed for the bullpen as the odd man out of the rotation reduction from six starters to five. But with Bartolo Colon sputtering lately and Freddy Garcia on the disabled list because of a right index finger injury, Hughes isn’t going anywhere but back to the mound in another five days.
The Yankees had their fifth straight double-figure hit game on this trip with a 13-hit attack, highlighted by two home runs from Hughes’ catcher, Russell Martin. Target Field seems to play large for everyone but the Yanks, who have five home runs in two games.
Matching Martin with three RBI was Mark Teixeira, who had two doubles and a sacrifice fly to drive his season RBI total to 94, two behind club leader Curtis Granderson, who reached base four times with a double, a single and two walks. Robinson Cano doubled in a run to push his hitting streak to 11 games in which he is batting .375 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 48 at-bats.
Even hotter is Derek Jeter, who singled twice for his fifth straight multi-hit game and is hitting .415 in August and .292 for the season. He is batting .514 in 37 at-bats in an eight-game hitting streak and since returning from the DL is hitting .346 with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 26 RBI in 38 games in raising his season average 32 points in 159 at-bats.
As Warner Wolf used to say, “Let’s go to the video tape,” – again!
Still stung by what happened Wednesday night at Kansas City, Yankees manager Joe Girardi bounced out of the dugout right away in the first inning Thursday night at Minneapolis to challenge a home run call. He asked the umpires to review the towering drive by Twins first baseman Justin Morneau that was initially ruled a two-run home run. From his view in the visitors’ dugout along third base, Girardi was certain the ball was foul.
And to Girardi’s possible surprise, the umpires backed him up, reversing the call and sending Morneau back to the plate. That brought Twins manager Ron Gardenhire out of his dugout to get in his two cents of protest that wound up getting him ejected. Girardi probably could emphasize with his opponent’s emotions.
So the Yankees skipper is batting .500 in questioning home run calls by umps on this trip. The reversal also took a home run allowed away from CC Sabathia, who was taken deep five times in his previous start. Those were all solo shots, by the Rays. Morneau’s homer that wasn’t came with Joe Mauer on first base. On defense, Mauer, an All-Star catcher, played right field for the first time in his career because of all the injuries Minnesota has.
So what happened to the American League Beast?
The division that has been touted as the toughest in the major leagues is the only one with a winless team, two of them in fact. The Red Sox and Rays both lost Thursday and are 0-6. It ought to be pretty interesting listening to the reaction of the fans in Fenway Park Friday when the team is announced individually before the home opener against the Yankees, who take to the road after a 4-2 homestand against the Tigers and Twins.
The Blue Jays also lost Thursday and are even with the Yankees at 4-2. The Orioles took a 4-1 record into a night game against Detroit. AL East teams are a combined 12-17 after the season’s first week.
Boston’s start is by far the most astonishing, considering that so many pre-season prognosticators had the Red Sox winning the World Series or at the least getting to it. They simply have not hit. Thursday was the first time the Red Sox were shut out (1-0), but they have scored 17 runs, less than three per game (2.83). They are batting .181 as a team and slugging .275! Man, do the Red Sox need to get back to Fenway in a hurry.
The Yankees didn’t even need home runs Thursday to beat Minnesota, 4-3. Another sound effort from A.J. Burnett (2-0 this year and 7-0 in April since joining the Yankees) set the pace. Rafael Soriano atoned for his blowup earlier in the week, and Mariano Rivera topped it off with a 1-2-3, 7-pitch ninth for his fourth save.
Instead of the long ball, the Yanks used some small ball for this victory, which was nice to see. Brett Gardner manufactured a run by himself without a hit in the third. After a leadoff walk, he stole second, crossed to third on an infield out by Derek Jeter and scored on a fly ball by Nick Swisher. (Jeter, by the way, had a double, a single and a walk in four plate appearances and passed Hall of Famer Rogers Horsnby on the career hit list with 2,931).
After the Twins went ahead, 2-1, in the fourth on doubles by Justin Morneau, Jim Thome and Jaason Kubel, the Yanks came right back in the bottom half with some more little ball. Andruw Jones doubled in a run and sent Robinson Cano to third. Russell Martin fought off a tough slider from Francisco Liriano and was able to hit a grounder to first that scored Cano on a contact play. A two-out single by Gardner made the score 4-2.
Burnett, who mixed in a changeup with an effective curve, was replaced in the seventh by Joba Chamberlain, who was pretty wild with numerous balls in the dirt. He hit Alexi Casilla with a pitch, then pretty much allowed him to get to third base. Castilla stole second largely because Martin could not throw to second until after he made a nice, short-hop stop of another pitch in the dirt by Chamberlain. In hurrying the throw, Martin threw wide of second and was charged with an unfortunate error as Casilla reached third. He scored on a grounder to the right side by Denard Span.
Thanks to Soriano and Rivera, the Yankees kept the Twins at bay. There was some ugliness in the bottom of the seventh, however, when Swisher upended Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka attempting to break up a double play and succeeding. He also broke Nishioka’s leg. The rookie from Japan suffered a fractured fibula as the result of the play, which the Twins did not identify as dirty. Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire termed the play hard but fair and that he likes the way Swisher plays.
Swisher was so upset that after the game he sought out Nishioka and talked to him.
“I told him I was just trying to break up and double play and that I didn’t mean to hurt him,” Swisher said. “I mean, that’s the last thing you want to do, especially to a guy who has come all the way over here to try to make his mark. He told, ‘It wasn’t your fault; I didn’t get out of the way.’ That made me feel better. I was glad I was able to talk to him and hope he gets back soon.”
Swish was unaware of the diagnosis when he spoke. One thing I heard from scouts years ago when Kaz Matsui was playing second base for the Mets is that Japanese middle infielders are not as quick around the bag on double plays, that they tend to drag their way across the base and may be vulnerable to hard slides.
Someone then mentioned Boston’s record to Swisher. “I don’t care if they’re 0-and-6 or 6-and-0,” he said. “It’s still Yankees-Red Sox. We expect a tough series.”
The first time he came to bat at Yankee Stadium as a 19-year-old rookie for the Braves in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series, Andruw Jones hit a home run. Jones got his first at-bat at the new Stadium Tuesday night now as a reserve outfielder for the Yankees and also hit a home run, a splendid way to get started with his new team.
I freely admit that I was not all that keen on the Jones signing. He seems limited as a bench player to me. Jones doesn’t move all that well in the field anymore, and he certainly isn’t going to contribute much as a pinch runner. Still, he is an upgrade defensively over Marcus Thames, who did some good things with the bat a year ago, but you couldn’t play him anywhere but DH.
Hitting home runs at the Stadium is something the Yankees are doing a lot of already in 2011 – 13 now in five games. Jones’ solo drive (career No. 408, pushing him past the late Duke Snider for 46th place on the all-time list) in the second came an inning after Mark Teixeira bashed a three-run homer off Brian Duensing with none out. Those blows seemed all the ammunition the Yankees would need, and they were so long as CC Sabathia was in the game.
But the dreaded pitch count had Sabathia departing after seven brilliant innings in which he gave up two measly singles and then proceeded to retire 17 batters in a row. That was stuck with a no-decision is nothing short of criminal. The way CC pitched (7 innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts) meant there was no way Mariano Rivera needed to pitch in this game. But come the ninth, there was Mo.
That was because Rafael Soriano had come on in the eighth, the former Rays closer’s new inning of responsibility, and spit up the four-run lead. The Twins, whose futility at the Stadium during Ron Gardenhire’s 10-year tenure as manager is a matter of record, surely were pleased to see Sabathia go away, not that Soriano is any day at the beach, normally, but the righthander did not look like the reliever who saved 45 games a year ago.
That can happen sometimes with pitchers who have the closer mentality, but Soriano knew what was in store for him when the Yankees gave him all those millions of dollars.
“It’s too early to judge that,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about whether Soriano will find working the eighth less challenging than the ninth.
Soriano opened up the game for the Twins instead of helping to close it out for the Yankees. He loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a well-struck single by Denard Span. It appeared as if Soriano might get out of it by freezing Tsuyoshi Nishioka with a muscular fastball for the second out before walking Joe Mauer on a diet of cutters to force in Minnesota’s first run.
Girardi had seen enough and summoned David Robertson, who got Delmon Young to hit a slicing pop to right. It was high enough to allow the runners extra time to scoot around the bases, and they all scored when the ball fell free in front of a sliding Nick Swisher. Young was credited with a three-run double, and what seemed a sure victory for Sabathia was gone.
There was some talk after the game that perhaps Girardi would have been better off bringing in Robertson to pitch the eighth and Soriano in the ninth on a night when not having to turn to a 41-year-old closer was possible. That makes no sense. Soriano’s job is to pitch in the eighth, and a 4-0 score at the Stadium these days the way balls are flying is by no means insurmountable.
Swisher faulted himself for a mistake of aggression by diving for the Young ball. Once his feet left the ground, Swisher had no chance to keep Mauer from scoring the tying run. Swisher would have been better off playing the ball on a hop and making a strong throw home. Mauer caught a break being able to run for what is full speed for him because there were two out.
Rivera worked the ninth but left after the Yankees failed to score in the bottom half. The Twins went ahead on Mauer’s single off Boone Logan in the 10th, and Joe Nathan, who didn’t seem destined for this game, closed it out.
So where did all the home runs go? The Yankees had two hits, both singles, after Jones’ bomb, so the offense shares some blame here. But this was primarily a bullpen blunder. Give CC credit for professionalism.
“It’s part of the game,” he said of the no-decision. “You just move on from there.”
It is not that much of a stretch to say that Ivan Nova might be the starting pitcher other than CC Sabathia that the Yankees have the least to worry about. Oh, sure, it’s early, plenty early, but the righthander who still qualifies as a rookie continued his impressive work in spring training with a strong first outing Monday night in the Yankees’ 4-3 victory over to the Twins, who have lost 26 of their last 30 regular-season games at Yankee Stadium.
Two-run home runs by Alex Rodriguez in the first inning and Jorge Posada in the second gave Nova a 4-0 lead to work with, and while it got a bit hairy at times Nova pitched out of trouble when he needed to and left after six innings with the lead intact, albeit sliced down to one run.
Nova did not allow a hit until Justin Morneau’s two-out double in the third inning. The Twins entered the game with merely a .198 team batting average, which is hard to believe for a team with their quality offense. Coming to Yankee Stadium didn’t help.
Perhaps noting all the home runs (15) at the Stadium during the Yanks-Tigers series, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire inserted veteran slugger Jim Thome (589 career home runs) into his lineup at designated hitter. Thome didn’t leave the yard, but his double to right-center after an infield hit by Demon Young halved the Yanks’ lead. Thome hit a 3-2 changeup for the double, a gutty pitch for a rookie to throw in that spot, but it left a thought in Thome’s mind when he faced the kid again in the sixth.
Jason Kubel put up resistance coming back from 1-2 in the count to work it full, but Nova won the 10-pitch duel as Kubel grounded out weakly to second. The same fate befell Joe Mauer as he beat a curve ball into the ground in the fifth after a one-out double by Alexi Castilla and a two-out double by Tsuyoshi Nishioka had cut the Yanks’ lead to 4-3.
That Nova faced Mauer at all was a sign of the confidence the pitcher has earned from manager Joe Girardi, who might have taken him out in that situation last year. Indeed, Girardi had lefty Boone Logan warming in the pen but stayed with Nova.
“These are the things he has to do for us,” Girardi said. “It’s all part of learning how to pitch at this level and in those situations. It shows that he has matured.”
Thome was Nova’s last batter in the sixth with two out and the bases empty. Again, the count went to 3-2. Hmm, thought Thome, changeup last time. He had to be thinking about it. Nova came in with a fastball and struck him out. The bullpen trio of Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera handled matters from there, as they did for Sabathia in the season opener.
As for Nova’s expectations, they are simple. “Win, win, and win,” he said. “Win every time.”
You’ve got to love the attitude.
Regular readers will be familiar with my fondness for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, although the welcome mat I place for him at Yankee Stadium over the years hasn’t been matched by the Yankees. The Stadiums old and new have been horror houses to the affable skipper whom I have known since I covered him on the Mets in the early 1980s.
One of my responsibilities as secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America is to contact the winners of the annual awards as well as those elected to the Hall of Fame, and it was an absolute pleasure to break the news to Gardy last November that he had finally won the American League Manager of the Year Award after having finished second five times. I asked him where he had put the trophy.
“I haven’t seen it yet,” Gardenhire said. “I’ll get my first look when we go back home after this series.”
Truth be told, the Manager of the Year trophies are not given out at the New York Baseball Writers Dinner with the other awards, Most Valuable Player, Cy Young and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year. Yes, the official presentations are made there, and the managers speak from the dais, but a token gift is handed to them. The shape of the trophy, which is impressive, is such that for some reason it does not travel well, so the BBWAA likes to send the trophy to what will be its final destination. In Gardenhire’s case, it was sent to Target Field in Minneapolis.
Trophies shipped to both Joe Torre when he won for the first time with the Yankees in 1996 and Joe Girardi when he won the National League award with the Marlins in 2006 cracked during transport, and each had to be replaced. Gardenire might have expected a damaged trophy if the writers have given it to him at Yankee Stadium.
Gardy’s record here is nothing short of horrible – 4-25 during the regular season and 2-5 in the AL Division Series. Awards voting is done prior to the start of post-season play, so the Yanks’ sweep of the Twins was not a road block for Gardenhire.
Writers took into account that Gardenhire did not have one of his former MVP players, first baseman Justin Morneau, for the second half of the season. Morneau suffered a concussion July 7 at Toronto and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. Morneau’s situation still bears monitoring, and Gardenhire applauds Major League Baseball for establishing a new disabled list rule regarding players with concussions.
A player sustaining a concussion may not be placed on a seven-day DL, which would allow a team to replace him without putting the onus for the injured play to suck up what has proved a serious condition so as not to let down his teammates. If the player needs to remain on the DL for the full 15 days, the period can begin retroactively.
“It’s an important step for baseball,” Gardy said. “We didn’t know much about concussions in the old days. I was knocked out twice in my career and played the next day. In one case, I kept on playing in the game that I was knocked out.”
Gardenhire recalled that while playing shortstop for the Tidewater Tides, then the Mets’ Triple A affiliate, against the Columbus Clippers, then the Yankees’ top farm, he was struck in the head with a pitch and lost consciousness.
“When I came to,” he said, “they asked me if I wanted to keep playing. ‘Sure,’ I said. No one wants to come out of the lineup. So I kept on playing. Of course, I don’t remember anything about the rest of the game. A rule like this goes a long way to understanding this condition.”
Also in Minnesota’s traveling party is the newest Hall of Famer, Bert Blyleven, the 287-game winner as a pitcher and the long-time television analyst for the Twins. Bert told me he is enjoying his “Blyleven in ‘11” year and brings good news about another Twins Hall of Famer.
Harmon Killebrew, the former slugger who is undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Target Field Friday for the Twins’ home opener against Oakland.
The New York Chapter of the BBWAA honored Killebrew with its Casey Stengel “You Can Look It Up” Award in recognition of his outstanding 1961 season that was overshadowed by the Roger Maris-Mickey Mantle chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record. He was unable to attend the dinner, and Gardenhire accepted in his place. The writers have an open invitation for Killebrew to attend the dinner next January, and we’re rooting for him to be able to make it.
It has been suggested by some columnists that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America should allow its voters for the Manager of the Year Awards to include post-season play. Just as is the case with the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards in the BBWAA jurisdiction, voting is done prior to the start of post-season play and includes only the accomplishments during the regular season.
Some writers argue that while players, pitchers and rookies are eligible for separate awards related to post-season play, managers are not. Also, they add, steering a team throughout the post-season is a function worthy of being included in an honor that recognizes managerial skill.
In my view, the problem with that is that you would no longer need an election, would you? The heck with polling writers, just hand out the trophies to the two guys whose teams reached the World Series every year. I am sure there are some people who though the Giants’ Bruce Bochy and the Rangers’ Ron Washington were more deserving than the managers who won, the Twins’ Ron Gardenhire and the Padres’ Buddy Black.
You have probably read reports that Major League Baseball is toying with the idea of another round of playoffs by adding two more wild-card teams into the post-season mix. That’s just what we need; more November baseball with pitchers already overworked trying to keep their tongues off the mound.
All an additional round of playoffs would do is to continue to weaken the impact of the 162-game schedule, still the most demanding test in team sports. If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard it a hundred times from managers, coaches and players that the post-season is a “crap shoot.” Why base an award that is supposed to honor achievement over the course of a year on a crap shoot?
Managing a team involves more than just what takes place three hours a night during games. It is the day-to-day handling of two dozen-plus players over six months upon which a manager is judged. By adding post-season to the Manager of the Year Award mix, the eight managers whose teams reach post-season play, maybe 10 by 2012, will get a distinct advantage. Isn’t the field already small enough? There are 16 managers in the National League and 14 in the American League.
Again, why bother to have an election if post-season inclusion would likely lead to eliminating nearly three-quarters of the field?
Gardenhire, who won the award for the first time after five second-place finishes in the voting, directed the Twins to a 94-68 record and their sixth AL Central title in his nine seasons at the helm despite the loss to injury of closer Joe Nathan for the whole season and slugging first baseman Justin Morneau for half the schedule. Yet all that good work might have been discarded by voters after the Twins were swept in the Division Series by the Yankees.
Black’s victory in the NL by merely one point over the Reds’ Dusty Baker was a testament to the overachievement of the Padres, whom many thought at season’s start to be a last-place club. In his fourth season in San Diego, Black got the Padres within one game of the NL West title with the fourth best record in franchise history. But if the post-season had been included, mightn’t Cincinnati’s quick exit have hurt Baker so that the vote would not have been so close?
What takes place over a period of less than three weeks should not hold the same weight as what transpires over six months. A manager who does the best job in the post-season will get the best award there is – a championship ring. That is reward enough.
So this wild card stuff isn’t so bad after all. In fact, being the wild card might have been the best thing to happen to the Yankees, although there is no suggestion here that it was done by design.
Yes, by finishing second to the Rays in the American League East, the Yankees lost home field advantage during the post-season, and we all know how much they love to play at Yankee Stadium. The benefit came from being paired in the AL Division Series with the Twins rather than the Rangers, who would have been pretty dangerous with Cliff Lee starting twice in a five-game series.
The Rangers with Cliff Lee or the Twins without Justin Morneau, who would you rather face?
Someday, the Twins will free themselves from this hold the Yankees have on them in post-season play, but not now. The Yankees’ sweep, which they completed Saturday night at the Stadium with a convincing 6-1 victory, extended Minnesota’s post-season losing streak to 12 games.
The Yankees are 12-2 against the Twins in post-season play and 48-16 overall against them since 2002 when Ron Gardenhire, a good manager and an even finer person, took reins of the team. Saturday night’s loss was the 26th in the past 30 games by the Twins in the Bronx.
This is the fourth time the Yankees have been a wild-card team in the playoffs, and the ALDS marked the first post-season series they have won in that capacity. They were defeated as wild cards in 1995 by the Mariners and in 1997 and 2007 by the Indians.
“I think it says a lot about our club that it just keeps putting pressure on the other team,” manager Joe Girardi said.
That pretty much explained how the Yankees manhandled the Twins again. They never quit in any of their at-bats, which allowed them to overcome deficits in the first two games and maintain a sizeable early lead in the third. Phil Hughes pitched even better than CC Sabathia or Andy Pettitte, both of whom were pretty damn good, and took note that he was aware the perception out there was that the Yankees’ rotation was “CC and then who?”
Something to prove? You bet. The maligned staff allowed the Twins only one hit in 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position in the series.
The Yankees won’t play again until Friday, which gives a team with a lot of older veterans a chance to rest up for the AL Championship Series. Yankees fans paying attention to the other ALDS should become Rays fans for Game 4 today at Texas. If Tampa Bay can push that series to five games, then both staff aces, David Price of the Rays and Lee, would start Tuesday night, which means neither could start Game 1 of the ALCS three nights later.
The Yankees may not have home field advantage, but they could end up with some kind of advantage.
The 2009 post-season was filled with questionable calls by umpires, an embarrassing situation at a time when the game is on a national stage. The 2010 tournament is only two days old, and already head-scratching work by the dudes in the black hats has stained the games.
We have only had four games and already two managers have been ejected for arguing calls at a time when umpires are instructed to be patient because so much is at stake in the playoffs. Actually, the heave-ho’s were justified since in each case the managers were griping over ball-strike calls, which they know is a no-no.
Rays manager Joe Maddon was tossed Thursday afternoon for complaining about a checked swing by Michael Young that was ruled a ball one pitch before the Rangers third baseman smacked a three-run home run. Maddon and the Rays were already sore about a phantom foul tip call on Carlos Pena from Game 1 that helped Cliff Lee get out of a bases-loaded jam. In the same at-bat, Pena appeared to have been hit by a pitch but was not awarded first base.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also went wiggy Wednesday night over a Carl Pavano pitch to Yankees DH Lance Berkman on 1-2 that looked as if it had the inside corner for strike three. Plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt thought otherwise, and Berkman doubled in the go-ahead run on the next pitch. Gardenhire came out to talk to Pavano, but he really wanted to shout at Wendelstedt and paid the price with a seat in his office.
Just the night before, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera had to get a fifth out in his four-out save because a clean catch in right field by Greg Golson was ruled a trap by umpire Chris Guccione. Even the Twins had to shake their heads over that one as a reminder of how Joe Mauer got hosed out of a crucial double in last year’s ALDS at Yankee Stadium.
Let’s not hear about the intense scrutiny caused by HDTV technology. Plain eyesight showed that all these calls were wrong. Let’s just be grateful that none of these guys loused up Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay’s no-hitter.