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Twins Have Small Chance to Win Series Against Yankees

By Brian Chase

SPORTS COLUMNIST

In honor of the baseball playoffs, Yong-yi Zhu and I are writing head to head articles where we both take sides on one issue. This week the question is: Can the Minnesota Twins win their postseason series against the Yankees?

My answer is no. A lot of people think that this is the Twins’ year, because they have the best pitcher in the American League, Johan Santana, and they have the most consistent closer, Joe Nathan. So what if their offense struggles at times? Good pitching wins championships.

There’s a problem with all this optimism, though: this team is the champion of the AL Central, and so they aren’t really used to the competition they’ll be facing in the playoffs. Most of their stats are inflated by the fact that they play an unbalanced schedule that lets them chew up the other anemic teams in the Central Division. What happens when they go against a quality team like the Yankees?

We saw the answer to this one last week, when the Yankees swept the Twins at home. Did I mention that the Yankees have home field advantage against the Twins?

And it’s not as if this Yankees team is made of a bunch of slouches, either. True, everyone has heard of the Yankees’ problems with starting pitching, but it looks like their playoff pitching will be just fine: Mike Mussina pitched beautifully his last game out, and Orlando Hernandez has been great for the entire second half of the season. Add to that the most powerful bullpen in the majors, and the Twins will have to hit plenty to get past these Yankees.

And that’s finally where the Yankees have their greatest advantage: hitting. While the Yankees pitchers rate behind the Twins’ staff by only a few spots, the Twins’ batting statistics are 10th in the AL, while the Yankees are second. That offensive power, combined with homefield advantage and the postseason jitters that the young Twins team will be feeling and the veteran Yankees will not, will win the Yankees this series.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Yankees may be down, the Twins may be up, but they are still the Yankees and the Twins, and the outcome is still the same.