ALDS Game 3 lineups, notes: Gardenhire waiting for offensive barrage
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Minnesota Twins (vs. Phil Hughes)
CF Denard Span (2-for-3, BB)
2B Orlando Hudson (no history)
C Joe Mauer (1-for-4)
RF Jason Kubel (2-for-3, BB)
LF Delmon Young (2-for-6, RBI)
DH Jim Thome (1-for-4, 2 BB)
1B Michael Cuddyer (1-for-6, 2B, BB)
3B Danny Valencia (no history)
SS J.J. Hardy (no history)
LHP Brian Duensing (overall: 10-3, 2.62)
New York Yankees (vs. Duensing)
SS Derek Jeter (3-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB)
RF Nick Swisher (1-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 BB)
1B Mark Teixeira (1-for-6, BB)
3B Alex Rodriguez (1-for-5, 2 RBI, BB)
2B Robinson Cano (2-for-6, 2B, 2 RBI)
DH Marcus Thames (3-for-6, 2B, BB)
C Jorge Posada (0-for-3)
CF Curtis Granderson (2-for-7, BB)
LF Brett Gardner (0-for-3)
RHP Phil Hughes (overall: 18-8, 4.19)
Gardenhire: 'The guys have to get some hits here'
NEW YORK -- Manager Ron Gardenhire hinted Friday that he might insert Alexi Casilla into the lineup for Game 3 -- "I've been running a lot of thoughts through, whether we go with speed," the skipper said -- but he wound up sticking with the same cast, in a different order.
"I talked about that," Gardenhire said Saturday about potentially swapping Casilla for Hardy. "But I also like the fact that with this guy pitching I can hit and run with Hardy. He's a very good hit and run guy and I like that at the bottom of the order."
Against the righty Hughes, Kubel bats fourth, and Cuddyer gets bumped down to seventh for the first time all season.
"You definitely don't want to show any signs of panicking or anything like that, by changing everybody around," Gardenhire said. "I think you have to go with what got you here, and that's these guys. This is our lineup."
Gardenhire added, "There's not much you can do. As a manager, you write the lineups out there and you've got to go out and get it done. Players have to go out there and get hits and they have to pitch. So all the rah-rah stuff you want to do... The bottom line is when they get the one-on-one confrontation out there against the pitcher, they have to come up with a hit.
"Maybe we can put a few hit and runs on to help some situations out, move some people around, stay out of double plays. But it still gets down to the guys have to get some hits here."
Yankees winning bullpen battle
Heading into the series, I talked about how the bullpens would likely play a huge role in the outcome of this series. Sure enough, Teixeira's two-run blast off Jesse Crain made the difference in Game 1. Game 2 was decided before Matt Capps allowed the Yankees to score in the eighth, but so far New York's relievers have won the battle, throwing five scoreless innings over the first two games (5 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K).
Closer Mariano Rivera has locked down both wins in the series, including a four-out save in Game 1.
The current crop of Twins hitters is collectively hitting just .217/.301/.337 with four extra-base hits in 93 plate appearances off Rivera in their careers -- and yes, that includes Kubel's dramatic, game-winning blast at Yankee Stadium earlier this year.
"You know the cutter is coming," Span said earlier this season. "Every now and then he'll throw the one backdoor, or he'll leave one over the middle. So hopefully you're hoping he makes a mistake and leave one over the middle. I think the two at bats I have gotten a hit off him were last year in the playoffs. I look back at that video, he was trying to come in but left it a little bit out over the plate. That's the only chance you have to get a hit off him.
"It's unbelievable, when you really think about it. You've got a guy, you know what he's going to do to you. Just like a boxer, you know if he has one arm he's going to throw a right hand punch, and you can't block it. That's a God-given pitch, and he definitely takes advantage of it."
* Speaking of Hughes, he hasn't pitched seven innings since July 9, so expect to see a heavy dose of the Yankees bullpen after the fifth or sixth inning.
"No," Gardenhire said. "None."
* Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked about the mental battle baseball players face in "do or die" situations. He may have inadvertently given the Twins some advice.
"Well, I think when you talk about needing one, the biggest thing is you have to be able to relax in the situation. And your thought process ahs to, for me, has to be instinctual. When you start thinking too much in the game, I think it can paralyze you.
"So you do your preparation for the game, and you let the chips fall where they may. Whether it's one out for a no-hitter, don't try to do anything different. Just be who you are and don't try to do more than you should. I think sometimes people can get caught up in those things."