Wednesday, October 7, 2009
ALDS Preview: Yankees vs. Twins
This is the game where the Yankees are supposed to roll over whichever crappy team ends up winning the AL Central (apologies to Fox for their stupid commercials where it shows the Tigers will be in the postseason). ESPN experts across the board picked the Yankees to easily handle the Twins (why not? The Twins are 0-7 against the Yanks this season), and most have picked the Yankees to go all the way and bring home their first World Series win since 2000, or an eternity if you're a Yankees fan. The Yankees recent postseason attempts haven't gone well, they've choked, choked, and choked some more. Oh yeah...and this. But talk to any Yankees fan and they don't wanna live in the past (unless they pull out the obligatory "kiss the rings" cop-out), nope, they're all about living in the now. Their team went out and spent enough money to buy Nigeria this offseason and are convinced that these are the guys to finally bring home another title.
But it's never quite as simple as that. Let's start with their "scary" rotation. their ace Carsten Charles Sabathia is a known postseason choke-artist (2-3 in 5 starts, the only thing scary about him is his postseason ERA of 7.92 if you're a Yankees fan), AJ Burnett has been real shaky as of late, Andy Pettitte has question marks of his own as of late. Then of course you have the king of postseason choking, Alex Rodriguez.
Anytime someone brings up the Twins' chances in this series, that magical word is always brought up... "momentum." Yes the Twins have been arguably baseball's best team over the past month, they just capped off a never-before-seen comeback to win the AL Central for the 5th time in 8 years. Momentum is definitely on the side of the Twinkies, even when they have more question marks on that team than I can even explore in one blog post, they're just getting it done any way they can.
So which team shows up? The team that hasn't been able to beat the Yankees over the past decade or the gritty team that finds ways to win no matter how much the odds are against them?
Yankees Player to Watch:
Alex Rodriguez, A-Roid is licking his chops waiting to show the world why the Yankees gave him a $700 billion contract and silence his critics once and for all.. or at least for a few days. The pressure is definitely on him, but will he choke? Try to swat a ball out of Michael Cuddyer's glove? Or yell "I Got it" as he rounds the bases on an infield pop-up?
Honorable Mentions: CC Sabathia, Mark Teixiera, Joba Chamberlain
Twins Player to Watch:
Congratulations rookie, in your 10th career start you get a trip to the Bronx to face the Yankees as a heavy underdog against a former Cy Young winner. If Duensing can keep up his unexpectedly awesome rookie season, that will be the key to the Twins competing with the Yankees. A good start from him will give an undoubtedly tired bullpen some much needed rest.
Honorable Mentions: Nick Blackburn, Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young
Momentum. Is. Everything. However, as tempted as I am to pick with my heart...and I really am, my head is prevailing and I'm saying the Yankees will handle the Twins in 4 games, thus continuing the recent struggles of the Twinkies against the Yanks. I do think the Twins will win one at the Dome behind a fired up crowd...and I do like the Twins chances to win at least 1 in New York, hell they came 1 run away from doing it 3 out of 4 times this season. Unfortunately I think this is the year the Yankees right the ship.
Yankees in 4.