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The Twins should be saying "bring on the Yankees"

Sep 14, 2010, 10:59 AM EDT

Conventional wisdom holds that the Twins want no part of the Yankees, because the Yankees have owned them in the post season in recent years.  But it’s a different story altogether, I think, if the Twins get home field advantage in the playoffs. Which they could outright if they make up a couple of games and end up with the best record on the AL East.  Or they could over the Yankees at least if the Yankees remain in second place and end up with the wild card.

Under such circumstances, you’d have to like the Twins no? Their home record is 48-23.  The Yankees on the road are 38-32. History is fun and everything, but I have to think the distinct advantage the Twins have over their opponents at Target Field outweighs the Yankees’ past dominance of the Twins in the playoffs, don’t you?

Just looking ahead: the Twins have this week’s series against the White Sox, but then they close against the A’s, Indians, Royals, Tigers and Blue Jays, with most of those games at home.  The Yankees still have 12 games with the Rays and Red Sox. The Rays have it a bit easier, with the six games against the Yankees and then some cupcakes.

Maybe I’m just drinking too much Twins Kool-Aid this week, but I like the Twins’ chances to take home field advantage. And I like them in a series against the Yankees as well.  Indeed, it’s what they should be hoping for at this point.

  1. BC - Sep 14, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    If the Twins get home field over the Yankees, absolutely they should want to play them. Sabathia is something like 198-2 at home, and pretty ordinary on the road. Home field guarantees he pitches at least one road game and possibly 2 if the series goes 5 games.

  2. AdamK - Sep 14, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    As a Twins fan, I couldn’t disagree more. I agree that the Twins seem to have a distinct advantage at home but I’d love to avoid the Yankees altogether. The best situation (IMO) the Twins could have is to secure home-field advantage throughout by leading the AL in wins and then catching the Rays in the 1st round. That way, even if they do have to play the Yankees at some point, they’ll have already won a series and they’ll still have the home-field advantage.
    The Twins may be the hottest team in baseball in the 2nd half, but against the AL East this year, they’re still just 14-18. Either team will be tough and I’d just as soon see the Twins play a team that they don’t have as much of a post-season history against.

  3. bbeer - Sep 14, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    You know, I’m from North Dakota so I watch a lot of Twins ball. I must say it’s pretty annoying to watch the Twins make the playoffs just so they can lose to the Yankees in the first round, again. Every. Single. Year.

  4. Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Unless the Yankees flip it and have Hughes pitch games 1 and 5 (he’s been much, much better away from NYS).
    I agree that their playoff history should have nothing to do with who they want to face, though. The Angels couldn’t beat the Red Sox in the playoffs… untl they did. The Yankees couldn’t beat the Angels in the playoffs… until they did. Playoff results are about the relative qualities of the two teams involved, any particular matchup inefficiencies that can be exploited, and a healthy dose of randomness. History has nothing to do with it.

  5. Alex - Sep 14, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Another reverse jinx, thanks. Btw, with the Braves rotation pitching awesome, and McCann putting up MVP numbers, there’s no way they spend October at home. Take that.

  6. F. Amos - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Look at Gardenhire’s record against the Yankees. Adam’s comment is accurate. They just fall to pieces emotionally when they see pinstripes. All the logic and stats in the world can’t account for why the entire organization turns into crying babies when they get on the same field as the Yanks.

  7. ThatGuy - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    These guys are professionals, I don’t buy this they fall apart when they play the Yankees crap. Often the Yankees have had better teams, or the Twins have had to spend everything they got just to make the postseason in thrilling divison races. And also some bad calls(Mauers Double/foul bowl), some luck and some plain old mistakes have hurt them(Punto’s baserunning). Unless they have a detriotesque meltdown vs the Sox this week, and the remainder of the season they should be able to rest some guys, actually set up their rotation for the playoffs and have first round at home for sure. Completely different situation as last year, and years prior.

  8. mrfloydpink - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    Hm, in their entire history, the Twins have lost three postseason series to the Yankees. Two of those came more than five years ago, when the Yankees had a radically different roster.
    Yep, seems more than enough of a sample size to draw conclusions about the Twins’ ability to cope with the Yankees.

  9. kenbuddha - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    If the Rays and Yankees split the rest of their games and each team wins the rest of their series (no sweeps) the Rays will have 99 wins (.631 the last 19 games) and the Yankees 98 wins (.610 for the last 18 games). Which means the Twins must win 100 games (.789 the last 19 games). If the Twins win each series but no sweeps they’ll win 98 games.
    The Twins have a good chance of a couple of sweeps (Indians & Royals) but so do the Rays (Mariners, Orioles, Royals). Of course, sweeps can happen to the best of teams, but if nothing out of the ordinary happens then there’s a chance but it’s slim.
    I think the Rays and Yankees have more incentive to push their teams harder for first place vs wild card while the Twins will have wrapped it up in the division and feel the need to rest some key players.

  10. minnesconsin_ad - Sep 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    he was referring to Gardenhire’s total record against the Yankees, not just in the post-season. i think gardy’s total record against the yankees is something like 18-54. That said, I don’t think the Twins should be afraid of ANYONE if they manage to secure homefield. I would not want to have to travel to the Bronx for the ALCS though…

  11. doctorfunke - Sep 14, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Great comment, ThatGuy. Last year, it was like winning it all just to get in, and then it was, “Oh, we have to play some more?”
    I think the biggest reason that we “fall apart” against the Yankees is for two reasons; 1) The Yankees have had home-run hitting teams and the Twins have had predominently fly-ball pitchers in ballparks that were/are homer friendly. 2) The Yankees have had the better team.
    This year is a toss-up. And I think that if the Twins can get homefield advantage, they have a great chance. They have learned how to hit at Target Field, and that has obviously been an advantage to them. I really hope that they wrap up the division ASAP so that all of the little dings can be taken care of and get that rotation set before the playoffs start.

  12. Bill@TDS - Sep 14, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    I think this makes perfect sense, but I can’t make myself agree. I know despite how it feels that there’s no particular reason to believe the Twins’ odds are significantly worse against the Yankees than against the Rays…but I think the difference is that if it did have to happen, I would hate losing to the Rays a lot less. I mean, a LOT less.

  13. Michael - Sep 14, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    The Twins need only to best the Rangers’ record to assure home field advantage against the Wild Card team. The Wild Card team does not receive home field advantage, regardless of whether or not their record is superior to that of the team they face in the first round of the postseason.

  14. kenbuddha - Sep 14, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    @Michael: I think you misunderstood my post. I wasn’t claiming the WC could get home field ever. Maybe it was the punctuation in the last sentence (“first place vs wild card” was meant for the AL East race).
    My post had to do with having home field throughout the AL playoffs not just the first round.

  15. Professor Longnose - Sep 15, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    The way things are going, if the Twins face the Yankees neither team will have home-field advantage because they’ll have to play the series in a neutral hospital.

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