Print and Go Back ESPN.com: MLB Playoffs 2009 [Print without images]

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Yankees to start Wednesday

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees knew when they'd be playing before they knew who. Then after 12 innings of an AL Central tiebreaker, they learned it would be the Minnesota Twins.

The Yankees could have waited until one hour after that game to pick when they wanted to begin, but made the call about an hour before the first pitch. Now they'll face the Twins and star catcher Joe Mauer for a shot at the ALCS.

"The Twins offensively have left-handed power in [Jason] Kubel and Mauer, and everything really focuses around Mauer," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's so dangerous in their lineup. One thing that has happened to this club is Kubel has really matured into a dangerous hitter behind Mauer, and [Michael] Cuddyer has really stepped up in the months of September and October. Delmon Young has turned his season around as well. They also play small ball and you have to be ready for that."

The Yankees, who went 7-0 against Minnesota this year, have home-field advantage throughout the postseason. They picked to get going right away in the first postseason game at the new Yankee Stadium, meaning the Twins would have about 21 hours between the final out and the first pitch.

They also used closer Joe Nathan during Tuesday night's epic.

"The only advantage it gives you is that they probably wouldn't ask him to get more than three outs on Wednesday," Girardi said.

With the schedule they chose, the Yankees will get a day off between Games 1 and 2.

The other AL playoff series between Boston and the Los Angeles Angels will now start Thursday night in Anaheim, a development that surprised neither team. New York was expected to choose the earlier schedule, forcing the Twins into a quick turnaround from Tuesday's tiebreaker.

"We thought we would do this all along," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who planned his rotation in anticipation of a Thursday start. "We'll go through our workout. We'll talk to our players. We'll check on some guys' health, and we'll put our roster together."

Boston and Los Angeles both are waiting to set their final playoff rosters while evaluating players with minor injuries during Tuesday's workouts, including Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen and Angels reliever Jason Bulger.

The clubs will play back-to-back night games on Thursday and Friday before the series shifts to Fenway Park.