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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. hop - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:36 AM

    bye bye baston! Great hitting big sloppy! hahahahha and way to close it out paplebafoon!!

  2. fajar - Oct 12, 2009 at 2:22 AM

    thank’s for your upload..

  3. Rob - Oct 12, 2009 at 9:43 AM

    Look…They played the Twins….They should have swept them….And in regards to A-Rod….It was the Twins…Show me what you can do against the Angels….

  4. Apex Star - Oct 12, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    Its amazing what you can do with alot of money and performance enhancing drugs.

  5. james - Oct 12, 2009 at 10:46 AM

    This goes to show, that you are a much better player without the PID’s. Stay off of them in order to be great. Jeter doesn’t need them and neither do you A-rod.

  6. peteinfla - Oct 12, 2009 at 11:24 AM

    Come on now HOP, let’s take the high road this time! Like you I am a lifelong Yanks fan. I grew up in the 60’s when we were terrible, remember the infield of Celerino Sanchez, Horace Clark Danny Cater…? And no one is happier with this team than me ( Except maybe you). Let’s not resort to the low class kick em when there down tacticts of the average Red Sox fan here. The Sox are done, we’re still playing, enough said! Let them wallow in their own misery, we don’t need to pile on this time!

  7. planktonDisciple - Oct 12, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    Three solid games against the Twins reverses a thirty nine game history? Hardly.

  8. stobbchi - Oct 12, 2009 at 11:39 AM

    Hey comment from hop – you forgot Gene Michaels at short, and the outfield of Ron Blomberg, Bobby Murcer and Roy White. The only pitcher I remember from that era was Mel Stottlemeyer, and the manager for years was Ralph Houk.
    As far as A-Rod goes, the pressure he previously had put on himself to perform is off because of the addition of Teixiera – and maybe including Swisher as well. Add to that the fact he’s been forced to relax a bit more because of his bad hip (which will be operated on in November) and you get the current A-Rod.

  9. John - Oct 12, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    Apex, sure didn’t seem to work for Papi. ;-)

  10. peteinfla - Oct 12, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    Hey stobbchi,
    Thanks for the reminder, I forgot the “Stick” and the others you mentioned. I think this was the same team that also had the wife swapping Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich. See below, from the Baseball Almanac.
    1971 New York Yankees
    Complete Roster
    22 Jack Aker
    45 Stan Bahnsen
    50 Bill Burbach
    50 Al Closter
    39, 43 Rob Gardner
    46 Roger Hambright
    29 Jim Hardin
    39 Gary Jones
    18 Mike Kekich
    38 Steve Kline
    43 Terry Ley
    40 Lindy McDaniel
    19 Fritz Peterson
    30 Mel Stottlemyre
    54 Gary Waslewski
    41 Jake Gibbs
    15 Thurman Munson
    26 Frank Baker
    25 Len Boehmer
    10 Danny Cater
    20 Horace Clarke
    23 John Ellis
    28 Ron Hansen
    2 Jerry Kenney
    17 Gene Michael
    24 Felipe Alou
    13 Curt Blefary
    12 Ron Blomberg
    27 Jim Lyttle
    1 Bobby Murcer
    14 Ron Swoboda
    21 Frank Tepedino
    21 Rusty Torres
    21 Danny Walton
    6 Roy White
    9 Ron Woods

  11. Moose - Oct 12, 2009 at 11:59 AM

    So whoopity-do, A-Rod managed to get hits while the whole team was smacking the twinkies around. When it comes down to it clutch isn’t determined when you sweep, it’s determine in the 9th, the team’s been crap all game and your team NEEDS your hit to stave off elimination. At those times A-flaccid has proven himself time and time again as someone who can’t close the deal. Looking pretty doesn’t do much for you out on the field.

  12. WallaceN - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    A Rod powers Yankees – what a joke. The Twins are TERRIBLE. Slap hitting team that can’t generate anything. A Rod is still and will always be a great numbers guy but he WILL choke against the Angels, as will the Yanks. Watch the Angels get aggressive and watch the Yanks fumble. Jeter, Posada, and Textiera are the real deal but A Rod will bat about .220 and hit a home run in the 9th inning when the Angels are up by 7 runs. Classic A Rod. The smart money will be on the Angels in 5 games. And all the NY a holes will go broke. Can’t wait.

  13. Desmond - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    I’m not interested in A-Rod’s most recent success. He cheated the game and fans for years. Fine something better to write about instead of lauding those who steal to succeed in our national beloved sport. Let’s not forget how the season began, with A-Rod stuttering and stammering and blaming years of cheating on his cousin.
    I’m done with cheaters, and I’m almost done with baseball. Hopefully new rules will be applied in the future.

  14. peteinfla - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:07 PM

    Did you actually see any of these games? I have never been much of an Arod fan, but let’s give some credit where it’s due! For at least this one series, all his hits were clutch, either providing the tying or go ahead runs in all three games, all from the 7th inning on. And if you watched these games, you would know that in the last 2 games, the Yanks did not “smack the twinkies around”. What were you watching?

  15. WallaceN - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:12 PM

    A Rod powers Yankees – what a joke. The Twins are TERRIBLE. Slap hitting team that can’t generate anything. A Rod is still and will always be a great numbers guy but he WILL choke against the Angels, as will the Yanks. Watch the Angels get aggressive and watch the Yanks fumble. Jeter, Posada, and Textiera are the real deal but A Rod will bat about .220 and hit a home run in the 9th inning when the Angels are up by 7 runs. Classic A Rod. The smart money will be on the Angels in 5 games. And all the NY a holes will go broke. Can’t wait.

  16. Jet60 - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:12 PM

    Very SOUR grapes Rob…I am sure they will fare at the very least, a little better than the (stinky sox) NATION did!

  17. bleachermike - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:14 PM

    i think A-Rod decided to finally start taking PED for the playoffs.

  18. planktonDisciple - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    teixera, posada and jeter the real deal? Try Jeter, Rivera and Pettite.
    Tex? Two postseason series under his belt. Zero RBI’s in four game sweep by Boston, one rbi against the Twins. Jury is still out.
    He was 2-12 against the Twins.
    Posada? Good series against the Twins, but a career .240 postseason hitter with 33 rbis in 99 games.
    We’ll see what happens.

  19. planktonDisciple - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM

    Alex did hit clutch late in games against the Twins, no doubt. But his last good playoff series was also against the Twins. He should have to have an ALCS and WS this year like the Twins series, before anyone seriously considers his playoff slump is over.

  20. planktonDisciple - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    teixera, posada and jeter the real deal? Try Jeter, Rivera and Pettite.
    Tex? Two postseason series under his belt. Zero RBI’s in four game sweep by Boston, one rbi against the Twins. Jury is still out.
    He was 2-12 against the Twins.
    Posada? Good series against the Twins, but a career .240 postseason hitter with 33 rbis in 99 games.
    We’ll see what happens.

  21. Joe D - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:29 PM

    WallaceN is a fool !!!
    Get your crying towel ready

  22. WallaceN - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:35 PM

    You might be right about teixera. Maybe another A Rod in the making. I’m talking the guys with the wood. Pitching a different story. Rivera no contest but Pettite will, I feel, have problems with the Angels bec they will not let him get away with his pitching game. Solid pitcher but FAR from great. He looks average against teams that show patience at the plate.
    Yea I hate the Yanks but they really did not look good against the Twins, a team that needs to put three hits together to score one run. How they lost that 2nd game to Yanks is difficult to figure out. It was painfully bad.

  23. peteinfla - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:39 PM

    You know, Wallace, you are starting to sound alot like a Red Sox fan here. The Angels are a great team, led by a great manager in Scioscia. This should be a great series, one that could go either way. So why the low class bashing? Let them play, and the better team will win. I can’t wait! As far as the “smart money”, who cares what the bettors do? For those of us who love baseball, the games are more than enough! By the way, aren’t Angel fans the same people who came up with the “Rally Monkey” a few years back?

  24. planktonDisciple - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:44 PM

    Pettite is Pettite. Not an alltime great but reliable. career 3.91 in reg season, 3.89 in post season. He has 16 of 24 postseason series with era under 4.00. He is not likely to get shellacked. He has 13 of 24 series 3.00 or better and 9 of 24 era 5.00 or higher. He is a reliable starter. He usually needs run support to win, but he keeps the Yanks in the game.

  25. Billy - Oct 12, 2009 at 12:59 PM

    All the A-rod haters can say what they want. .455 BA, 6 RBI, and 2 huge HR’s are valiodating. This was his breakout moment, It’s undeniable. Don’t tell me for a minute the Cards, or Sox wouldn’t sell their souls for that production this week.
    As far as this article goes…..Arod having a higher OPS in the playoffs than Jeter means nothing. Arod should aloways have a higher OPS, regardless of regular or post season. Jeter’s slugged .500 once, and had an OPS of .900 twice. Arod’s career OPS is .965. Even a horrible post season, in which Arod has only actually had 2 horrible (05,06), and 1 bad(07), he’ll still have a higher OPS. He still had 5 other solid post seasons which people all refuse to see.
    Claiming this Twins team is inferior to those of Tom Kelly’s is ridiculous. The Twins didn’t make the palayoffs for the last 10 years of his tenure. 2 rings or not, Gardenhire has made this team better. A perenial contender, despite the failure to make a World Series. I’ll take Gardenhire’s consistancey any day.

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