The Minnesota Twins accomplished what they set out to on Sunday, playing every position player – I believe – on the roster in a loss to Toronto in the regular-season finale.
And with Boston’s victory against the New York Yankees, the Evil Empire will once again be facing the Twins in the American League Division Series.
Game 1 of the ALDS will be at 7:37 p.m. on Wednesday at Target Field.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked on his Sunday morning radio show – obviously, this was before the Twins learned who their opponent would be – if the Yankees had gotten into his players’ heads. Gardy, of course, brushed it off, as well he should.
The Twins have had plenty of struggles against the Yankees in recent years, aside from Jason Kubel’s grand slam off closer Mariano Rivera. And there’s the 2-9 record the Twins have against the Yankees in postseason play.
But I’m going to try and cheer up any fans who are downtrodden about getting the Yanks instead of the Tampa Bay Rays (and they’re out there, I’ve met a few):
- This is the first time the Twins will have home-field advantage against the Yankees.
- The Twins weren’t alone in finishing the season on a bad note. The Yankees lost 8 of their last 11 games.
- Would you rather play the Yankees with home-field advantage in a best-of-5 or without it in a best-of-7, which would have been the scenario in the ALCS if the Yankees had won the AL East rather than the Wild Card?
- New York enters the postseason with some rotation concerns. A.J. Burnett (who could be left out of the playoff rotation reportedly) struggled down the stretch. Phil Hughes was way better in the first half than he was in the second half. And Andy Pettitte has made only three starts since suffering a mid-July injury.
- Finally, this is a far different situation than last year. The Twins spent plenty of energy just making the playoffs, and they were clearly overmatched against the eventual World Series champs. This year, there’s Jim Thome, Orlando Hudson and a productive Francisco Liriano.