Lance Berkman was the key to a Yankee win? In the playoffs?! I can’t believe I’m saying that, but Berkman’s 2 for 4 day, which included a solo home run and RBI double, helped propel the Yankee offense. Old reliable Andy Pettitte got the start for the Bombers on the mound. Pettitte was excellent, giving up two runs on five hits in seven innings of work. Kerry Wood threw a perfect eighth inning and Mariano Rivera notched his 41st playoff save, giving the Yanks a 5-2 win and 2-0 series advantage as the series goes back to New York.

It’s always good when you run into an ex. It’s good to show them how strong you are and how you have moved on from them. That’s exactly what the Yankees showed Carl Pavano again last night. The Yankee offense shelled the righty, collecting ten hits and scoring four earned runs in six innings. Twins reliever/closer Matt Capps was introduced to playoff baseball by giving up a Curtis Granderson RBI single in the ninth, extending the Yankee lead to three.

Offense:

People have been getting on Derek Jeter all season long, but this guy is an absolute winner. Jeter went 1 for 5 with an RBI single, but the most telling stat won’t appear in the box score. Jeter saw a total of 20 pitches in his at-bats, which in turn gives every other hitter a better look at the pitcher.

Lance Berkman has played very poorly as a Yankee. However, he made Brian Cashman look like a genius last night as he was ripping extra base hits all over Target Field. Early in his Yankee tenure, Berkman appeared to be a little timid, but he sure looked comfortable as the designated hitter last night. He’s an integral part of the Yankee DH platoon which will likely see Marcus Thames on Saturday night against Brian Duensing.

Pitching:

All of those injury concerns about Andy Pettitte? Forget about them. The guy is a warrior on the mound. His seven innings were vintage-Andy, as he kept the Twins off-balanced. His only mistake came in the sixth inning when Orlando Hudson homered to left field. Pettitte hung a curve ball in the middle of the plate that Hudson cranked. Pettitte was visibly frustrated, but he responded nicely from it. Overall though, the Yankees couldn’t have asked for a better start from the 39-year-old.

Kerry Wood appears to be locked in. Opposing hitters really don’t seem to have a chance right now against the hard-throwing righty. He is clearly Joe Girardi’s ‘Eighth Inning Guy’. Mo is Mo. Next.

Misc.

Well, Ron Gardenhire. Your little tirade about the strike zone didn’t really work out, now did it? Normally a team will respond when their manager is tossed from the game. After Gardenhire was tossed in the seventh inning, the Twins only managed two more hits.

Final Thoughts:

The Yankees have a lock on this series. It’s time to put the hammer down in Game 3. The Yankees have the literal edge. The psychological edge. The talent edge. The Twins are down 0-2. The Twins play horrible baseball in New York. The Yankees are just a better team.

Let’s not waste valuable pitches on Sabathia’s $161 million dollar arm and lose Game 3. It’s time for HUUUUUUUUGHES to step up and take this baby to the ALCS (Texas, presumably).

Side Note: I have Game 4 tickets, but I won’t be crushed if I don’t get to go..

Game 3: Phil Hughes (18-8 4.19 ERA) vs. Brian Duensing (10-3, 2.62 ERA) –
Saturday, 8:37 PM, TBS
Phil in the Playoffs: 1-1, 5.25 ERA (all with Yankees)
Brian in the Playoffs: 0-1, 9.64 ERA (one career start in the 2009 ALDS vs. the Yankees)