Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Problem with The Yankees

     In 2010, the Twins were playing outside for the first time since 1982. They also had one of the best teams of the decade. Joe Mauer wasn't hitting for power like he had been the year before, but he still hit .327 from the catcher position. Delmon Young had enjoyed a breakout year, hitting  .298/.333/.493 with 21 homers. Also, 25 year old third baseman Danny Valencia came up in early June and raked, hitting .311/.351/.448 en route to finishing third in Rookie of the Year balloting. The rotation wasn't fantastic but was steady, anchored by Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano. They finished the year 94-68.
     They faced the Yankees in the ALDS. They were swept. The Yankees somehow managed to combine hopelessness and painfully destroying the Twins at the same time. This wasn't the first time the Yankees knocked the Twins out of the playoffs, in fact, the feeling was becoming all too familiar. Since 2003, the Twins were 2-12 against the Yankees in the playoffs. The regular season was and has been no better. Since '03, the Twins are 26-62 against the Evil Empire, good for a .333 winning percentage.
     The bizarre part about the Twins Big Apple adversity is that the Twins are a vastly different team than others that couldn't crack the Yankees. Nobody on the team currently was here in 2003, and Mauer and Duensing are the only ones who were on the 2010 squad.
     Much of the Twins struggles has been the inability to get A-Rod out. It's surreal how much he owns the Twins. In 143 regular season games against the Twins, he's logged 546 at-bats and hit .317 with 50 homers. He also has a 1.033 OPS, which would be the third highest of his career if it happened throughout a season.
     When he hit his grand slam last night, not only did it not surprise me, but I would have been surprised if hadn't gotten an extra base hit. I couldn't find splits against a specific team but I'm sure if I had I would have seen A-Rod is hitting approximately .853 in the seventh inning or later with runners in scoring position.
     They also were never able to hit Mariano Rivera. In 72.2 innings pitched against the Twins, the reliever struck out 69 while allowing 45 hits, including just two homers.
      Maybe it's as simple as the Twins can't play the Yankees. Really specific stats are hard to find unless you have an in with the Elias Sports Bureau, so this is completely anecdotal, when the Twins take the lead, regardless of inning, the Yankees get one right back, their next time at bat. That could be from anything, like nerves, knowing that they haven't taken a series from the Evil Empire since 2001, or the Steinbrenners have a grudge against the Pohlads and send A-Rod's cousin into their clubhouse before every game to spike the Gatorade or... pretty much anything. Sometimes I hate being a Twins fan.

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