New York Yankees
The Minnesota Twins had their chances in Game 1 of ALDS betting action on Wednesday night, but after falling behind 1-0, they really have little choice but to pick up a 'W' on Thursday night to avoid having to win two games in Yankee Stadium over the weekend.
Last night's game wasn't a great one for starting pitchers, as both LHP CC Sabathia and LHP Francisco Liriano conceded four runs. Sabathia only lasted six innings, but did get the win, while Liriano didn't factor into the decision in his 5.2 innings of work. RHP Jesse Crain gave up a two run homer to 1B Mark Teixeira in the seven inning to make the difference. RHP Mariano Rivera came in and shut the door for a four out save. OF Curtis Granderson hit a triple to plate two runs in a four run sixth that helped erase a 3-0 lead that the Twins built early on, and in spite of the fact that the hosts rallied both in the sixth and eighth innings, it was never enough to take down the Bronx Bombers.
The Yanks are going to be throwing the ageless wonder, LHP Andy Pettitte on Thursday night. There is some real concern whether the 38 year old has anything left in the tank or not after spending two months on the DL late in the season. He did pitch well in his first start back, but in his final two outings, Pettitte was racked for ten runs in just 7.1 innings of work. The good news is that the southpaw went 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA away from home this year, and the better news is that he is 11-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 21 career starts against Minnesota. Still, after just 21 starts this year, who knows how long Pettitte will be able to pitch in this game?
RHP Carl Pavano might be the last chance that the Twins have of salvaging this series. The former New York Yankee would love to get back at the team that essentially tried to ruin his career, but since that point, he has put together 31 wins against just 23 losses. Pavano had seven complete games this year, two of which went for shutouts, but none of which occurred in the final two months of the season. The Yankees haven't treated him kindly in his career, as he has never beaten his former team and has a 4.76 career ERA in four starts. Pavano is just 2-4 since August 19th, and his ERA has risen over a half run from that point to the end of the regular season.
This is the day for the Twinkies to shine. They really have no choice. Target Field badly wants to see some 'W's hit the board in this series, and the hope is that this isn't the last game played there this year. Pavano was a 17 game winner for a reason, and even though he never really did flirt with the 20 win barrier, we're going to trust him in this one. We just can't help but wonder if Pettitte is ready for this or not.
Selection: Minnesota Twins