The Yankees will face the hottest team in baseball, the Minnesota Twins, in the ALDS starting tonight. Minnesota came back from a three-game deficit with four games to play to tie Detroit and then beat them yesterday in a 12-inning playoff game to earn a trip to the Bronx.
The Twins are led by the probable AL MVP, catcher Joe Mauer. Mauer played in only 138 games this year, but hit .365 with 28 home runs. Michael Cuddyer had 32 homes to lead the Twins while Jason Kubel had a fine season hitting .300 while hitting 28 homers and driving in 103. But, the Twins are missing a significant piece of their offense because Justin Morneau has a stress fracture in his lower back and is out for the season.
While the Twins should be able to score some runs, their starting pitching is a big question mark. They will start Brian Duensing, a rookie with only 84 innings in the bigs, against the Yankees tonight. Nick Blackburn, a pitcher with a 5.89 career ERA against the Yankees, will start Game 2. Right now, Carl Pavano is scheduled to start Game 3 on Sunday, assuming he doesn’t get hurt before then.
The Twins are a good team that got hot at the right moment, but they are no match for the Yankees. New York is better at almost every spot, except for catcher and centerfield. With a bullpen of Joba, Hughes and Rivera, the Yankees can get away with their starters only giving them six innings. New York hasn’t advanced beyond the ALDS since 2004, when they beat the Twins. Expect the same result this time as well.