The Runner Sports

Twins To Play Biggest Series Of Season

Sunday saw the Minnesota Twins crush the Toronto Blue Jays to end a winning homestand. It was a great game, complete with a Joe Mauer grand slam, and two home runs from Eddie Rosario. And that’s not to mention a gutsy performance from Kyle Gibson.

But enough about that. We’re all thinking about this series with the New York Yankees.

Unfortunately, the Twins cannot claim the first Wild Card position in this series. The best they can do is get within one game of it.

Fortunately, they probably won’t lose the second Wild Card spot either. By the time the series with the Yankees ends on Wednesday, the Twins will have played three games, and the Angels will have played two. If things go horribly wrong, the Angels would be .5 games ahead of the Twins. But they are playing Cleveland and that has gone well for exactly zero teams.

But can the Twins handle the Yankees? Can they impress the nation when they play two games on ESPN?

If they are to succeed, it will be because their pitchers keep the ball in the ballpark. Only two teams have hit more home runs than the Yankees. Likewise, only four teams have allowed more home runs than the Twins. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Luckily, the Twins have been better lately, as they are right in the middle of the pack in terms of homers allowed in September. The Yankees are tied for the lead in homers allowed this month, but it just so happens that one of the teams they are tied with is the Minnesota Twins.

So, there is still reason to fear the home run capabilities of the Bronx Bombers, but there is reason to believe the Twins can both pitch to limit them and hit homers of their own to keep pace.

Also working in the Twins’ favor, their three best starting pitchers are slated to take the mound in this series. Ervin Santana, Jose Berríos, and Bartolo Colón have all been dominant at times this year, but have also had their share of terrible outings. If they get the best out of all of them, then this series could go greatly in the Twins favor.

Of course, Yankee fans are saying the same thing. Former Twin Jaime García pitches in game one with CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka following behind. García and Tanaka have ERAs of 4.35 and 4.73, respectively, but both have been trending upward lately. Sabathia has an ERA of 3.85 and is in the middle of his best season of recent years. All three present a tough task for Twins hitters, but the team has hit well enough lately that it is not as scary as it could be.

Another important aspect of this series is how the Twins, as young as most of the players are, respond to Yankee Stadium. Because we can’t inhabit the brains of baseball players, we’ll never know how much pressure they feel, but if they are going to feel pressure, a playoff race in New York City against a team that most expect to beat them will certainly provide it. And if things stay as they are, the Twins will be that much more prepared for a one-game playoff in The House That Replaced The House that Ruth Built.

Most of all, enjoy this series. These will be the biggest games for the Twins since the 2010 playoff series against the Yankees. Sounds like a perfect time for a sweep to me.

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer is a lifelong Twins fan who spends most nights dreaming of learning a knuckleball and pitching them to a World Series victory.
Charlie Gillmer