Could there be a potentially bigger mismatch than the worn-out, 87-76 Minnesota Twins, fresh off finally clinching the AL Central in a draining Minneapolis marathon, arriving in New York City in the wee hours Wednesday morning to take on the hungry, rested, 103-win Yankees at the new ballpark in the Bronx?
Not really, but again, does any of this matter once the game begins?
Here is the TV schedule and the pitching matchups for the Twins-Yankees ALDS series:
Twins-Yankees ALDS TV Schedule and Pitching Matchups
|Gm 1||MIN @ NYY||Wed||10/7||6:07||TBS||Brian Duensing v C.C. Sabathia|
|Gm 2||MIN @ NYY||Fri||10/9||6:07||TBS||TBA v AJ Burnett|
|Gm 3||NYY @ MIN||Sun||10/11||TBD||TBS||TBA v TBA|
|Gm 4||NYY @ MIN||Mon||10/12||TBD||TBS||TBD|
|Gm 5||MIN @ NYY||Wed||10/14||TBD||TBS||TBD|
Sure, the Yankees could roll, since they’ll now avoid Twins ace Scott Baker until at least game three, probably drawing rookie left-hander Brian Duensing in game one. But it will be interesting to see how a poor playoff pitcher like CC Sabathia (note his terrible final start of the season in Tampa) performs, or an inexperienced playoff pitcher like AJ Burnett. Andy Pettitte is Andy Pettitte, for better or worse, but if there’s a game four in this series or the next, Joba Chamberlain apparently cannot get through four innings, so there’s issues therein that will relegate him to the bullpen for at least the division series. Chris Singleton and John Kruk both said on Baseball Tonight last week that the Yanks cannot throw Joba as a starter, perhaps not even in the bullpen. Though that’s typical hyperbole from ESPN, that’s still not good for the Pinstripers. Calling Chad Gaudin?
There is a lot of pressure on the Yankees this October. And no, it’s not on Alex Rodriguez, for a change. Rather, the Yanks have not won the world title since 2000, and last won the AL pennant in 2003. Though they missed the postseason last year, New York fans I know are demanding and expecting a championship — so is their media — presuming they’ll at least quickly dispatch the Twins on their way. They probably also thought that in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. Remember, the Yanks were supposed to rip a mediocre Detroit team in 2006. They lost in four. And while New York did beat Minnesota all seven times they met in 2009, four of them were by one run, and all were pre-All Star break, when Minnesota was buried in the standings.
There is zero pressure on the Twins. They’ve won 17 of their last 21, catching a Tiger team who had a seven game lead four weeks ago. Considering their miracles, if they win ONE game, people will applaud. Good luck, GI Joe; it’s David vs. Goliath, beginning in Gotham.
Yahoo’s Yankees synopsis here.
The Twins can be found here.