The Minnesota Twins have had a checkered postseason past against the New York Yankees, but what would happen if they met in this year’s postseason?
Disclaimer: This piece is written assuming the Twins don’t completely implode and somehow manage to lose the division. If that happens, this piece will self destruct and I promise to make a sacrifice adequate to the Baseball Gods to atone for my transgressions.
So now that the paperwork is out of the way, here’s the good news: If the season had ended Sunday, the Minnesota Twins would be the American League Central Division champions. The bad news? The Minnesota Twins would open the playoffs against the New York Yankees.
In recent memory, the Twins have not had great luck against the Yankees in the postseason. The Twins have seen the Yankees in the 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010 American League Divisional Series and the 2017 wild card round. Despite all those opportunities, the Twins have never beat them.
As of right now, this looks like the most plausible scenario. The Yankees’ magic number is down to 3 to clinch the AL East. They can lock up at least a wild card round appearance with 2 more wins. However, they’re missing some major pieces to their playoff puzzle. Gary Sanchez, Edwin Encarnacion and Giancarlo Stanton are all dealing with injuries. On the other hand, they get their high powered pitchers Luis Severino and Dellin Betances back.
So what will it take for the Twins to take down the pinstriped Goliath? In a word, perfection.
The Yankees have one of the deepest rosters in baseball and aren’t afraid to spend money to get better. The Twins’ front office has been criticized for not doing enough during the offseason and at the trade deadline to ensure depth at critical times.
Those criticisms have proven well-founded with a myriad of injuries in the outfield and the suspension of Michael Pineda. Add in that Jose Berrios has struggled (at least by Berrios’ standards) recently and the Twins could be in real trouble making the task of taking down the Yankees an all hands on deck effort.
In order to pull that off, the Twins are going to need to put together a solid series. The rotation can’t falter. The bullpen, which has looked better in the last six weeks than at any point in the season, has to be on point. And of course, a few Bombas wouldn’t hurt!
Outside of that, the Twins have a few advantages in a series against the Yankees. The Yankees are a better home team than a road team (53-22 at home, 45-31 road) which probably has something to do with the Little League distance porch in right. They also struggle at times to close out one-run games with an 18-16 record when a team can keep it close.
By comparison, the Twins are 50-25 on the road and have a record of 20-11 in one-run games.
Despite the issue of depth in their roster, the Twins have proven to be a very consistent team that can win anywhere and anyway. If the series boils down to who can manufacture runs and who can play their brand of ball, the Twins have a very good shot to shock the baseball world.