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A-Rod powers Yankees to ALDS sweep of sloppy, punchless Twins

Oct 11, 2009, 11:38 PM EDT

This series had to be awfully confusing for the baseball-watching public, who for years have been assured by every announcer, columnist, and talking head that Alex Rodriguez is incapable of coming through in the clutch and the Twins win by “doing the little things.”
Neither of those prepackaged storylines proved accurate in New York’s sweep of Minnesota, but then again they weren’t entirely accurate coming into the ALDS either.
Rodriguez going 5-for-11 with two homers and six RBIs in the three-game series is certainly a big change from his recent playoff struggles, but for all the criticism that he’s taken for wilting under pressure he has a higher lifetime postseason OPS than Derek Jeter and has hit extremely well in “close and late” situations during the regular season throughout his career.
And while fans and media members who don’t actually see Minnesota play all that much tend to blindly repeat the various mantras about “playing the right way” the Twins’ focus on fundamentals and execution has steadily eroded since Tom Kelly stepped down as manager in 2001. Both positive and negative, reputations can be difficult to shake once established.
A few big hits in the ALDS aren’t going to keep Rodriguez from being labeled a choker again after his next strikeout in a crucial situation, just as a few bone-headed mistakes aren’t going to keep non-Minnesotans from believing that the Twins are a well-oiled, small-ball machine. However, both reputations took a major hit over the past three games and because of it the Yankees are headed for an ALCS matchup with the Angels.
Game 2 and Game 3 were both there for Minnesota to claim, but instead the Twins blew leads, made mental and physical mistakes, and came up empty in far too many scoring opportunities while falling to 0-10 against the Yankees this season and 16-48 against them overall in eight years under Ron Gardenhire. Those are remarkable numbers considering that the Twins are 699-560 (.555) against all other teams during that time.
Of course, the Yankees aren’t like all other teams. CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Andy Pettitte each turned in a Quality Start against Minnesota and the bullpen trio of Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes appeared in all three games. Thanks to the drawn-out playoff schedule they’ll continue to lean heavily on that outstanding six-man core. Oh, and they also have the deepest, highest-scoring lineup in baseball.
After blasting an MLB-high 244 homers during the regular season the Yankees homered six times against the Twins. Meanwhile, the hitters on Minnesota’s playoff roster combined for just 127 long balls and the Twins failed to homer even once in three games. The good news for the Yankees is that their hitters can do damage against any pitching staff. The bad news for the Yankees is that the Angels’ offense is far more dangerous than the Twins’ injury-wrecked lineup.
Right now though, New York sure looks like the team to beat.

  1. Tom - Oct 12, 2009 at 1:47 PM

    9 years is the proof in the pudding. 1 playoff series dosen’t get rid of the chicken bone in his throat he seems to get each playoff.

  2. WallaceN - Oct 12, 2009 at 2:10 PM

    Yes peteinfla I am a Red Sox fan and grew up in NY. When they lost the division to NY I knew they were in trouble having to go against the Angels. Angels are always ready but with Hunter and Kazmir they have improved that much more. Scoisica, for me, is a great mgr and will make a difference in the matchups. He was on the wrong end of the 3rd strike called/wasn’t called umpiring gaffe against Cleveland (?) about 3-4 years back. One of the worst call I have ever witnessed. Someone refresh me on that. Regarding the “smart money”, even though the suspender boys on Wall Street are broke these days there will be BIG money bet on this matchup and it will be sweet to see the NY money brokers take a hit. Money matters in NY. Everything is an event. It’s not just about baseball. Wait till the cameras start giving you closeups on the “important” people. Who will get more face time, Jeter, A Rod, or Trump?

  3. Mike - Oct 12, 2009 at 2:40 PM

    A-roid is a punk. I am not a Yankee fan but they have a lot of classy guys on that team, Pettitte, Jeter, Posada, etc. A-Roid is not one of them he is a self center punk that only cares about himself and that is why NY will not win this year or any other year that he is on the team. GO ANGELS !!!

  4. Abigail - Oct 12, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    How is it so easy that Yankees fans can just forget about A-Rod admitting to his cheating ways? I just don’t get it…He is no God.

  5. Joe - Oct 12, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    The yankees won because they took advantage of the Twins base running mistakes and and came thru in the clutch. Against the Angels that might be harder. I am a Yankee fan and If they can pitch and hot like they did against the Twinns they could win. A- Rod now has some confidence and that will help.

  6. Frank - Oct 12, 2009 at 4:43 PM

    You must be talking about the Roid Sux

  7. RainMeister - Oct 12, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    I see the Yankee haters are out in force. The only thing that matters is that our team is advancing to the AL Championship, and unless your team is the Angels, yours is not. As for the Angels, they may have finally overcome elimination by the Blowsox, but we’ll see if they can overcome a team that took 3 out of the last 4 games during the regular season.

  8. David - Oct 12, 2009 at 4:52 PM

    The author is going to need mouthwash to get the taste of Gay-Roid’s nuts out of his mouth. Agree with Rob up toward the top. This was the Twins. There WAS no pressure. Gay-Roid cannot play under pressure. We will see how he does when he is in a situation that isn’t already predetermined. Playing the Sox or Angels or Phils or Dodgers is WAY, WAY different than a best of 5 series against an exhausted and completely overmatched team with about 1/4 the payroll. Call me a hater, but these are the facts. Try and dispute them.

  9. doc - Oct 12, 2009 at 5:11 PM

    Wow….perhaps there should be quick IQ and personality tests before you are allowed to post. Intelligent, well thought out posts with comments that are supported by facts are enjoyable to read. Enthusiastic, team-biased posts are fun to read. Hateful vitriol belongs elsewhere; “Gay-Roid’s nuts out of his mouth,”??? Not funny, not creative…..just pathetic and sad.

  10. Kim - Oct 12, 2009 at 5:16 PM

    A-Rod had a good game. Hats off. The Angels are tougher than the Twins, I am told. We’ll see how he does there.

  11. David - Oct 12, 2009 at 5:25 PM

    Glad I got to you doc. You’ve made my day. Sounds like you not only need some mouthwash, but might want to floss to get rid of some of those pesky hairs.

  12. who cares - Oct 12, 2009 at 6:07 PM

    doc, your right…saying “gay-roid has his nuts in his mouth” is wrong….he has tex’s nuts in his mouth….a-rod is a deush and when he has to deal with pressure he will choke on all the nuts in his mouth like he always does

  13. Brian - Oct 12, 2009 at 7:33 PM

    I think way too much is being made of A-Rod in the playoffs and the Yankees sweeping the Twinkies. Just look at the two teams over the years. The Twinkies are just horrible against the Yankees. A-Rod of course did well against them. That proves nothing. The first round was a snoozer for the Yankees really. The Angels had a tough series where they played great and showed how good they are. They’ll be ready for sure. They won’t let the Yankees roll over them.

  14. jmw082 - Oct 12, 2009 at 8:52 PM

    Pete in Fla:
    You forgot to mention the biggest trade that made the early 1970 Yankees: Kekich for Peterson. Weren’t on the same team? How could they be traded for each other? No, they traded their wives. It was reality TV before we had reality TV.

  15. jason hammond - Oct 12, 2009 at 9:36 PM

    Just like a cheap whore, A-Fraud will choke when it really comes to the big one. He is nothing but an overpaid, stat padding, choke artist that has as much back bone as your garden variety slug.

  16. doc - Oct 12, 2009 at 10:00 PM

    Glad that was your intent. BTW, I’m not even a Yankees fan….just a non-fan of low IQ homophobes. Oops, sorry, that was three syllables.

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