Twins 6 Tigers 5 (12). 12 innings?? Are you kidding me? The Twins have completely blown out their bullpen. They have to jump on a plane to play the Yanks at 6:07pm? The Yankees don’t have to face Verlander or Porcello? Nor will they have to face the monster, Mornear? Are you kidding me? Could this have possibly worked out any better? In a year full of wild, walk-off wins for the Yankees, they first get a one game playoff to wear out their competitor, then get whipped cream on top with the game going to extra frames. Is the onlydanger at this point overconfidence?
Between these two teams who both specialize in wild finishes, we could have quite the exciting series (if the Yanks don’t flat-out pummel the Twinkies to death). The Twins come in on quite the hot streak, which may or may not have some carryover to the playoffs. The last three weeks have seen Minnesota make up ground in gulps, culminating in an unlikely Alexi Casilla walk-off single to secure the right to face the top team in baseball this year. The Twins used an astonishing eight pitchers on the night, with their closer, Joe Nathan, going 1 2/3: music to the Yankees’ ears, but it got the job done. Casilla actually entered the game as a pinch runner, only to become the hero. Other Minnesota heroes on the night include Jason Kubel and Orlando Cabrera, each with home runs, and of course, the inimitable Joe Mauer with 2 hits. The game almost ended in the tenth, when the teams exchanged runs. Casilla almost ended the game in that frame, but was thrown out at home plate trying to score on a sacrifice fly.
So, do the Twins have any chance to keep their momentum going against the top team in baseball? Well, it’s baseball, so yes, but beyond that fact, there are not many factors favoring the team from the Twin cities.
- They have been winning games of late, not with stellar starting pitching, but by burning up their bullpen and scratching out runs late. This is not a great formula for success against the Yankees, who possess a bullpen every bit as good, but consederably better rested.
- They do not have an ace to go against the Yankee ace who could go twice if necessary.
- Not only is CC a big edge for the Bombers, the Twins’ strength is in their left-handed hitting (see Joe Mauer) which gives Sabathia yet another advantage.
- The Yankees went 7-0 in the regular season versus the Twins.
- The Twins have Carl Pavano – nuff said.
What do the Twins have on their side? Momentum, Mauer, and not much else. They have a really good pen, but it’s tough to keep going to that well the way they’ve been. We’ll be back tomorrow with a more detailed breakdown. Most of the stars seem to be aligned for the Yankees, but in a short series versus a hot team, you never know. Let’s go Yanks!
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