Here we go again. If the Minnesota Twins are going to win their third World Series in franchise history, they are going to have to go through the New York Yankees. A task that has impossible for them to do in recent years.
Let’s take a look at the series at a glance…
Game 2: Thursday, Oct.7 at 6:07 PM est. TBD vs. Carl Pavano
Game 3: Saturday, Oct. 9 at 8:37 PM est. Brian Duensing vs. TBD
*Game 4: Sunday, Oct. 10 at TBD. Nick Blackburn vs. TBD
*Game 5: Tuesday, Oct. 12 at TBD.
*Denotes If Necessary
It seemed like during the final two weeks of the season the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays were doing everything they possibly could to win the Wild Card so they could play the Twins in the first round. Well, be careful for what you wish for because you just might get it.
We all know the story between the Yankees and Twins. The Yankees have used the Twins as their personal whipping boy in the ALDS the last three times they have played them.
The Twins, normally known as a fundamentally strong team, turn into pumpkins when they see the Yankees. They make bone-headed base running plays, make uncharacteristic errors, and their pitchers choke at the worst possible moment.
However, there is one major difference between this series between the Yankees and Twins versus years past. It’s the Twins, not the Yankees, that have home-field advantage in this series.
I think that is really important, especially for Game 1. The Twins have to win Game 1. If the Twins don’t win Game 1, they have no chance in this series mainly because it will be one of those “Here we go again” scenarios.
While the Yankees played like poop in September, the Twins go into this round with more questions than the Yankees.
Is Joe Mauer 100 percent healthy? Can Brian Fuentes and Matt Capps do what Joe Nathan could never do—hold the lead late in a game, and can Brian Duensing walk into Yankee Stadium with the series tied at one and win Game 3?
I have the same take on Duensing that I had when the Angels started Joe Saunders in Game 6 of the ALDS last year. Both are nice little pitchers to have on a staff, but come on. Brian Duensing as a Game 3 starter? I don’t care if he went 10-3 during the regular season. No thanks.
While the Yankees have question marks about their pitching staff, I will still bet on Andy Pettitte or Phil Hughes coming through more than I will on Pavano or Blackburn. The odds are the Yankees won’t use A.J Burnett during this series and will go with Sabathia on three days rest for Game 4.
The one big question I do have with the Yankees is the underbelly of their bullpen. Can Boone Logan get Mauer or Jim Thome out in a big spot late in the game? Will Joe Girardi be able to rely on Kerry Wood or Joba Chamberlain to get through the eighth or will he have to use Mariano Rivera for two innings at a time?
Unlike last year, the Twins come into this series fresh, but I still don’t think it will be enough. The loss of Justin Morneau seems to be forgotten, but I think without him the Twins can’t beat the Yankees.
The Yankees will find a way to win.
Yankees in four.
You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg