You have to laugh, at least to keep from crying if you’re a die-hard Minnesota Twins fan. Before the start of the American League Division Series playoff, some in the media were actually portraying the Yankees as the underdog in this first round series. They talked about the Twins having home field advantage and the best home record in the AL, the suspect Yankee starting pitching behind CC Sabathia, and the way NY played down the stretch in losing the division to Tampa Bay–yeah, right. What they didn’t take into consideration was that the Twins actually played worse than the Yankees down the stretch and the fact of the matter is, NY has just owned Minnesota in recent years. And after the 3 games-to-none sweep/beatdown, it’s clear that nothing has changed.
The Twins had an excellent regular season, running away with their division down the stretch and battling for best record in the AL despite losing All-Star closer Joe Nathan for the whole year and MVP candidate first baseman Justin Morneau for the complete 2nd half. For that achievement, Ron Gardenhire may finally win Manager of the Year honors. But boy are they pathetic in the playoffs! For the 5th straight time they’ve been eliminated in the first round. Thet have now lost 12 straight playoff games, the 2nd longest streak in MLB history. The Twins have had the lead in (I believe) 7 straight playoff games against the Yankees and lost every one. They went 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position, and hit an atrocious .216 while the Yankees bombed away at a .290-something clip. It’s been even worse from the 7th inning on, as the Twins choked to the tune of getting outscored 20 – 3 by NY in the last two playoff series.
I love this team and how hard they play no matter what, the two World Championships in ’87 and ’91, and all the great players they’ve produced over the years. I can’t wait to take a summer trip and check out their gorgeous new outdoor ballpark, Target Field. But despite the difference in payrolls, they have got to figure out a way to play up to their potential against the Yankees at some point and break this curse of utter domination. I’m not sure how many more of these I can take…