The Twins are 3-7 so far. They have significant problems with the starting rotation. The bullpen is a complete crapshoot, and the most reliable reliever is dealing with a forearm injury. The lineup has been inconsistent all season.
But today there is reason to celebrate, because the Twins have defeated the Yankees.
Sure, it may sound insignificant, but it’s actually a pretty big deal. Raise your hand if you didn’t secretly think the Twins would be swept at Yankee Stadium this week. Even when the Twins were among MLB’s best teams for most of the last decade, the Yankees were a big problem. The Twins have gone entire seasons without beating the Yankees at home or on the road. In 2002, 2003, and 2009, the Twins put up a big fat zero versus New York’s American League squad, going a combined 0-20 even though the Twins won the Central Division all three years. The did manage a playoff victory in 2003 before three losses in the ALDS; in 2009 it was a sweep.
There have been occasional victories, but pretty much every series against the Yankees has started with a loss. The last time the Twins won the opening game of a series against New York was August 11, 2008 when Glen Perkins (he was a started back then) tossed eight shutout innings opposite the great Sidney Ponson. Adam Everett homered for the Twins, which gives you an idea how obscure that game was. You have to go back even further to find the last time the Twins won a series opener at Yankee Stadium: May 8, 2001. Eric Milton blanked the Yanks in a 2-0 Twins triumph. Not by coincidence, 2001 was also the last time the Twins won more games against the Yankees than they lost, finishing the year with a 4-2 series edge. It was also the year that Chuck Knoblauch played left field on Dollar Hot Dog night, which resulted in a predictable barrage of processed meats being thrown at the hated former Twin (the writer of that article acts shocked about the incident and gets indignant at Twins fans, but we all know Knoblauch deserved it).
An average Yankee fan might have shaken his head at the wild celebrations and exaggerated Twitter exclamations from Twins fans after last night’s win, but those celebrations were the correct response. Not only did the Twins beat the Yankees, they got a quality start from Carl Pavano, a brilliant defensive play from Alexi Casilla, a three hit night from Joe Mauer, a home run and a concussion free return to first base from Justin Morneau, and best of all, two drama-free scoreless innings from the bullpen.
In short, last night’s game was everything a Twins fan could ask for. Dare we dream that they can do it again?