Monday, October 4, 2010

Do not underestimate Minnesota Twins

Given the way the New York Yankees stumbled to the regular season finish line, they may be happy to be facing the Minnesota Twins in the first round, a team they have owned for years and swept out of the playoffs in 2009. But no one should underestimate the Twins.

Essentially, the Yankees traded home-field advantage in the playoffs for avoiding facing Cliff Lee twice in a five-game series. Some pundits and fans might believe that’s actually a good thing, facing the Twins in the American League division series instead of the Texas Rangers. But anyone expecting the Twins to be patsies for the Yankees is mistaken.

The Twinkies survived injuries that would have killed other teams (see Boston Red Sox, New York Mets), namely losing their closer Joe Nathan before the season even started. Do you think the Yankees could survive losing Mariano Rivera, even with his rough outings of late? Not a chance. And the Twins have been without Justin Morneau the entire second half. That would be like the Yankees losing their MVP candidate Robinson Cano and the Bronx Bombers have had enough trouble living up to their nickname recently.

I know we Yankee fans don't think much of Carl Pavano but he has pitched very well since leaving the Yankees and has miraculously stayed healthy. With him and Francisco Liriano at the top of the rotation, the Twins won't be pushovers. But I think CC Sabathia and a healthy Andy Pettitte are much better than both of them so it’s entirely possible that this series could be over very quickly.

That's not to say I feel overconfident about the Yankees chances. I think they are the better team, but I wouldn’t count the Twins out. I hope the Yankees and their fans don't either.

Thanks to Chamber of Fear and UCinternational via Wikipedia for the photo.

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