By Joe Christensen
Clearly, the Twins need to take these one at a time, but to advance to the ALCS, they would need to win three games with these three probable pitching matchups:
Sun: Carl Pavano vs. Andy Pettitte
Mon: Scott Baker vs. CC Sabathia
Wed @ NY: Nick Blackburn vs. A.J. Burnett
On his weekly radio show, on KSTP AM-1500, Manager Ron Gardenhire said he would likely use Jose Morales as his DH today, with Jason Kubel in right field and Brendan Harris at third base. In other words, Carlos Gomez will be back on the bench.
Gardenhire’s pregame press conference starts momentarily, so I’ll post the lineups and updates shortly.
Update: If the Twins win Game 3, the game time for Game 4 on Monday will be 6:37 p.m. If necessary, Game 5 would be Wednesday at 7:07 p.m.
(*) Gardenhire said Morales has looked more relaxed in batting practice and looked fine in a simulated game Monday against Twins pitcher Jeff Manship. Morales had a late-season slump, but there’s hope he’ll be better today, swinging righthanded.
“I’m looking for [Morales] to have a good ballgame,” Gardenhire said. “He’s had time to reflect a little bit, hopefully relax a little bit. It’s not going to be easy for any of us who are all going to be in the same boat.”
(*) Asked about the potential of having Baker pitch Game 4 and Blackburn pitch Game 5, Gardenhire said, “Our pitching’s set up the best it can possibly be set.”
(*) Gardenhire also said: “This team’s been fun, and I don’t expect anything to change. I expect to come out there and fight tonight. You never know what’s going to happen, but you know what? They’re ready to play.”
(*) Gardenhire on whether he considered putting Mauer at DH because of his sore hip: “No, no consideration whatsoever. I can’t tell you how it’s feeling and how much it hurts. You would have to ask him, and he is going to tell you the same thing he told me on the plane, ‘I have been playing with it a few days here and I will continue to play with it.’
“Will it hinder him?” Gardenhire continued. “Only time will tell. I don’t think he ran the bases as good as he can, but he ran the bases, and he does have to run the bases because he keeps getting hits, but he will be out there, he is a gamer, and everybody is playing with a little bit of something this time of year.”
Update: Joe Crede, who had back surgery last month, returned to the team for tonight’s pregame introductions.
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Nick Swisher, RF
9. Melky Cabrera, CF
Starting pitcher: LH Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.16 ERA)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Cabrera, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
5. Jason Kubel, RF
6. Delmon Young, LF
7. Brendan Harris, 3B
8. Jose Morales, DH
9. Nick Punto, 2B
Starting pitcher: RH Carl Pavano (14-12, 5.10 ERA)
Metrodome. First pitch: 6:07 p.m. TV: TBS