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MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY
2003-04-19 08:46
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

MONSTERS OF THE MIDWAY

The Yankee machine kept rolling along over the weekend against the Twins. The Bombers won all three games and extended their winning streak to 12 over Minnie. About the only bump in the road came on Sunday, when Joe Torre blasted George Steinbrenner, but I'll get to that in a moment.

Roger Clemens was not sharp on Friday night, but he was his usual plodding, domineering self, and he powered the Yankees to a 11-4 win, aided by homers from Ventura (who hit two), Mondesi and Soriano.

The funniest play of the game was when Clemens covered first on a slow roller to Jason Giambi. It looked like two offensive lineman doing an egg-toss drill. Clemens caught Giambi's lip and slid/crashed into first base to record the out.

Anderson, Contreras and Osuna followed Clemens to close the Twins out. Contreras allowed a double and a base on balls and was swiftly yanked. He stood out even further because of his flacid mechanics. The other Yankee pitchers worked quickly, with confidence, while Contreras continued to look lost. He wasn't using the lower-half of his body, his legs, at all. It's even more glaring because he's such a big, powerfully-built guy.

Jason Giambi continued to struggle, swinging through fastballs. The Yankee bullpen was a bit shaky again, and Giambi angrily scooped a throw in the dirt late in the game, that was pretty funny. Torre whispered something in the slugger's ear as he came off the field.

Saturday's game was closer, but the Yanks still managed to come out on top, 4-2. Andy Pettitte pitched a nice game, and Chris Hammond and Juan Acivedo closed the game out with some flair. In the sixth inning, Tori Hunter made a sensational catch, robbing Nick Johnson of a homer. Two batter later, Hunter almost pulled off the feat again, but Bernie Williams' shot was caught by a fan in the first row, and Hunter slammed his mitt into the wall in frustration. (It was the second magic trick Bernie had pulled off in two nights; on Friday he somehow was called safe on a steal of second.) It has just been going that way for the Twins.

Sunday's game held some promise for Minnie, with their young gun Kyle Lohse taking the hill, but after giving up lead-off singles to Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson to start the game, Jason Giambi tee'd off, and creamolished a fastball to straight-away center to give the Yanks a 3-0 lead. Giambi, who had been 0-8 since Friday, ended the day with two hits, and he also blistered a line-drive that was turned into a double-play. Giambi may be stirring from his slump, and is certainly the most dangerous .194 hitter in the league. With Mike Mussina pitching for New York, the Twins were in trouble, and the Yanks cruised to an 8-2 win. Ron Gardenhire protesting home-plate umpire, Joe Brinkman's stingy strike zone, got himself run early, but it didn't help his team too tough. Bernie Williams hit another homer.

Alfonso Soriano had at least two hits in all three games. A few weeks ago I was looking for a word that best describes Soriano. "Freak" was the most apt word I could come up with. Then I thought maybe we should call him "Superfreak." But after thinking about it for a while, I think Vladimir Guerrero is "Superfreak," and Lil' Sori is just "The Freak." Still, there is no other way to explain him. He's just a freak of nature.

For full coverage on the Twins, check out Aaron Gleeman and John Bonnes' excellent Twins Geek blog as well.

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