10/03/2003 2:17 AM ET
Twins-Yankees series goes Dome
Both teams expect a noisy Game 3
NEW YORK -- As the American League Division Series switches locales, a new element enters the fray between the Twins and Yankees.
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Thus far, through two tightly-contested matches in New York, the focus has been on making good pitches and getting clutch hits.
Now some of the attention shifts to decibel levels and Teflon roofs. Welcome to the Metrodome phase.
The Yankees, who drew even with the Twins thanks to Thursday night's 4-1 win in Yankee Stadium, aren't foreign to the dome. Joe Torre's boys swept a four-game series there earlier this season.
However, the Metrodome in April is different from the Metrodome in October. The Twins historically are 13-3 in postseason Dome games, including sweeps of all eight games on their way to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991.
"Well, I have never been there in the postseason," Torre said. "When it's filled up, we know how noisy it is. But we have been in postseason a lot of years, and we've been to some noisy places.
"This may be noisier than most, but hopefully we'll be able to deal with it."
The Yankees' best bet against the noise, even better than industrial strength earplugs, will be Roger Clemens.
The Rocket will go up against fellow right-hander Kyle Lohse in Saturday afternoon's game. Clemens will take the mound with more motivation than ever before, with the awareness that any start could be his last before retirement.
The noon CT start will only compound the Metrodome's other factors, reducing the visibility of batted balls against the sun-lit, off-white roof.
The pursuit of balls hit between fielders normally depends on communication between them. Torre cautioned the Yankees against relying on that, given the expected noise.
"The players will pretty much be on their own as far as making the decision themselves instead of waiting to hear somebody say something," Torre said.
Good thing to remember: The Metrodome's quirks affect both teams, equally. Especially when both teams are coming off having played on natural grass.
"It's difficult for our team too," said Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski. "The turf ... how many stadiums are there now with turf? It's a different speed of a game. And that white roof ... It's not fun. You just have to keep your concentration up."
"Minnesota fans have a reputation for being pretty loud, especially in the postseason," New York captain Derek Jeter said. "You worry about that when you get there. But we are used to noise. It gets pretty loud here at Yankee Stadium."
It was especially loud Thursday night, during a decisive three-run, seventh-inning rally.
"I don't think you'll find anyone in here who isn't satisfied with us getting out of here with a split," said reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who surrendered the key hits in that inning. "It was important for us to win a game here, and we did that."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.