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Bert Blyleven's ALCS keys for the Twins

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Bert Blyleven is the analyst for Fox Sports North. 1. Don't allow any first-inning runs to the . It's important for in Game 1 to come out throwing strikes and not allow any runs early. That's what hurt the in the Oakland series -- they fell behind early because the starting pitching allowed eight earned runs in the first three games. That didn't change until shut them down in Game 4 and did the same in Game 5. 2. No more defensive mistakes for the . I believe that, by now, the butterflies are out for the best defensive club in major league baseball. The had four errors in the first two games but now these players are going to have their emotions under better control. I look for the defense to be a big part because the pitching staff doesn't have the strikeout-type pitcher in the rotation other than Milton or maybe Santana. 3. Keep and off the bases for , and . You have to keep the two table-setters off the table. Nobody's coming over for dinner. The are kind of like the , really -- they don't have that explosive of a running ballclub so they rely more on hit-and-run, the power of Salmon and Glaus, and the extra-base hitting of Anderson, who had a great year hitting doubles. That's why you need to keep those lead guys off the bases. 4. Get Rivas and Guzman on base to create the runs. We talk about Eckstein and Erstad, but the ' key is to get those guys on base because they create so much chaos on the base paths. must also get on base from the leadoff spot. They know Game 1 starter has good control of his split finger, fastball and breaking ball. He's a battler who doesn't give in, so the must do the little things to try to create runs. 5. If at all possible, try to avoid having to face . The haven't scored an earned run against him. He's nasty. 6. Look for some offensive contributions from the rookie outfielders. wasn't with the club most of the year and last series he got a chance to start every day and has been swinging the bat pretty well. might also get a chance in a long series. finished hot and might play more of a factor in this series than against Oakland because he's the lefty hitter and can face right-handed pitching.
Tagged: Angels, Twins, Michael Cuddyer

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