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Yankees short hops
10/09/2004 11:15 PM ET
A .214 average with runners in scoring position, a bullpen that gives up runs in two of four games and subpar series from Gary Sheffield, and the Yankees still managed to beat the Twins in four games in the ALDS.

The Yankees proved in this series that they are a complete team and they don't necessarily need to hit well or pitch well to win games. They just need to produce in the clutch. The Bombers set a Major League record with 61 come-from-behind victories this season and had three in this series.

The Bombers also executed better than the Twins in the late innings. They were more patient at the plate, took advantage of pitcher's mistakes and even played some small ball, evidenced by Alex Rodriguez's stealing third base and scoring on a wild pitch for the winning run on Saturday.

New York did not do anything particularly well in this series but did outplay Minnesota. They had 16 extra-base hits to Minnesota's 11, drew 15 walks to the Twins' seven and had as many stolen bases (4).

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 4 of the ALDS.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 3.73 When the starter faltered, the bullpen stepped up
BA .279 Timely hitting did the job against Twins
BA w/ RISP .205 This will be unacceptable against Boston
Runs 21 Good teams can manufacture runs
Fldg % .997 Showed no problems fielding on artificial turf

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Hideki Matsui .412 BA, HR, 3 RBIs Just plain steady
Alex Rodriguez .421, HR, 3 RBIs Showed he can also do the little things

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Jorge Posada .222, 0 HR, 0 RBI Struck out six times in 18 ABs
John Olerud .214, 0 HR, 0 RBI This seems to be pretty much what you're going to get with Olerud

Behind the numbers
Ruben Sierra did not have a very good series. He was 0-for-8 in the first three games and finished with just a .167 average. But he provided the biggest hit of the series with a three-run homer off Juan Rincon that tied the game in the eighth inning.

Frozen moment
The Yankees have played well historically in the Metrodome and had not been affected by any of the quirky features in the park -- until Saturday. With Torii Hunter on first base and one out in the fourth, Justin Morneau lofted a fly ball to deep right field that Gary Sheffield lost in the white, parachute-like roof. The ball bounced 40 feet behind him for a gift double and the Twins would score a run in that inning on a Corey Koskie sacrifice fly.

Good move
Yankees manager Joe Torre made the tough decision to go with Javier Vazquez in the clinching Game 4 instead of Mike Mussina on three days' rest. Torre was hoping Vazquez could pitch well enough to keep the Yankees close -- he did -- and then the offense would take over -- it did. So now, Torre can start a fresh Mike Mussina in Game 1 of the ALCS against Boston instead of perhaps Jon Lieber.

Posteason post-its
The Yankees improved to 4-0 against the Twins in the postseason at the Metrodome. ... Derek Jeter has reached base in 20 straight ALDS starts. He began the streak in Game 4 of the ALDS against Oakland in 2001. He also has a postseason record 129 hits. ... Jorge Posada has played in 76 postseason games, one more than Yankee great Yogi Berra for ninth on the all-time list. ... Vazquez has not won since Sept. 15 at Kansas City. ... The Yankees have two players who are former Red Sox, Tony Clark and Tom Gordon.

Last word
"You never hear a pitcher who throws a ball that's called a strike, say 'Hey, that was a ball,'" -- Shortstop Derek Jeter on his phantom tag on Jacque Jones at second base that was called an out

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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