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Wolfson: Twins Scouting Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:04 PM
  Doogie Wolfson tweeted that the Twins are going to be scouting 22-year-old RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto, "one of the premier young pitc...
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2020 MLB (non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Yesterday, 06:56 PM
Feel free to chime in here about any of the (non-Twins) 2020 MLB postseason games!
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Not to add more doom and gloom

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 01:31 PM
This is interesting and sort of concerning. Article snippet comes from the incomparable Jayson Stark of The Athletic (Which is must read...
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White Sox make changes

Other Baseball 19 Oct 2020
Both Manager Rick Rentaria and pitching coach Don Cooper were let go.     Was a bit surprised by this, because the White S...
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Bring on the Evil Empire?

The Twins, despite a radically different season and playoff format, have seemingly found a way to play the Yankees in the first round. Let’s look at some pros and cons of facing New York in a three-game set.
Image courtesy of © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
As of Friday, the Twins have a one game lead on the Yankees as the No. 4 seed. The Bronx Bombers have won eight straight games, hitting a ridiculous 27 home runs. It’s absolutely possible, and maybe even likely that the Twins will have to travel to the Bronx for the entirety of the first round. That’s… not ideal. The Twins are 2-17 at Yankee Stadium since 2015.


The case for wanting to face New York

Slaying the dragon
The Yankees’ ownership of the Twins in October is one of the most well-visited fads in all of sports. The Yanks are 16-2 against Minnesota in the postseason, including 13 straight wins. The Twins’ 16 game playoff win drought is tied for the longest in North American sports history. Even as an incredibly passionate fan of the team, this is laughable. It’s hard to be this bad in October. It will end, I promise. What better time than now? What better opponent than them?

It’s unlikely the Twins will win the division in 2020. If they beat the Yankees in the playoffs, who cares about the division? That would make the entire up-and-down rollercoaster season worth it. Even a defeat in the ALDS would be taken lighter if the Twins could eliminate New York the round before. Beating the Yankees would be worth two series victories, arguably.

It’s not an entirely terrible matchup
Gary Sánchez was a massive part of the Yankees offensive attack in 2019. He’s been mostly absent in 2020. Sánchez has been worth negative 0.3 bWAR and Gerrit Cole likely won’t be throwing to him in game one. Another 30 home run hitter in 2019, breakout Gleyber Torres has just three in 126 plate appearances. It helps that the Yankees’ best hitters, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Torres, Luke Voit and Gio Urshela are all right-handed. That’s good news for Kenta Maeda, who has dominated righties for five straight years.



The most impactful development of all has been the implosion of New York’s once all-world bullpen. They rank 20th in baseball with a 4.51 ERA, a group sunk by the efforts of Adam Ottavino (6.91) and Aroldis Chapman (4.15). Tommy Kahnle has been out for all but one inning after Tommy John surgery. At least so far in this shortened campaign, the Yankee bullpen hasn’t been scary at all.

The case for wanting to avoid New York

Disaster
Imagine this: the Twins get swept by the Yankees again, extending their postseason drought to 18 games. Two games and poof, the Twins are gone, once again at the hands of their rightful owners. That would be a nightmare. For an entire offseason, we hurt and wreath in the bath of Yankee domination. We again ask ourselves: “will this ever end?”

Maybe even more painfully, let’s say the Twins battle and win one of the first two games. Game three is a heart-wrencher, tight until the very end when Aaron Judge ropes a three-run homer off Taylor Rogers to send New York to the glorious (or not so) bubble in California. I’m already crying. Can we handle that again? The answer of course, is yes. But do we want to have to handle that again? Maybe we’d rather lose to someone else for a change.

Their stars shine bright
DJ LeMahieu was already a stud before signing with the Yankees. Now he’s a full-fledged superstar. LeMahieu had a case to win A.L. MVP in 2019, hitting .327 with 26 homers and 33 doubles in 145 games on an injury-riddled team. The 2020 Yankees are also injury-riddled (and LeMahieu hasn’t escaped unscathed) but the utility infielder has hit a nutty .373/.421/.627 with 2 fWAR in just 39 games. Luke Voit, after missing the playoff roster in 2019, leads baseball with 20 homers. A healthy Aaron Judge is a menace on both sides of the ball. Giancarlo Stanton has a 195 wRC+ in 16 games. That’s, uh, really high.

Gerrit Cole is also a major puzzle. The $324 million man has a 0.90 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 20 September innings. Outside of (maybe) Shane Bieber, there’s no worse matchup for any team than Cole in the A.L. He’ll be dialed in and ready to rock in game one. The beauty of baseball, and why so many people hate the new format, is that anyone can beat anyone on any given day. Cole’s start guarantees nothing. Also, the Twins could just go win the next two if he dominates in game one.

What do you think? Do you want to face the Yankees in round one?

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16 Comments

Yeah... I dunno folks, I foresee another sweep if we face the Yanks. Last year the Twins had swagger, and they completely fell on their faces. Now half the team is hitting around the Mendoza line, and we've had to rely on our pitching, which is good, but not great. Just looking over the stats, the Yankees hitters are doing a lot better than the Twins...

    • jun, Longdistancetwins, mikelink45 and 2 others like this

 

Yeah... I dunno folks, I foresee another sweep if we face the Yanks. Last year the Twins had swagger, and they completely fell on their faces. Now half the team is hitting around the Mendoza line, and we've had to rely on our pitching, which is good, but not great. Just looking over the stats, the Yankees hitters are doing a lot better than the Twins...

It's going to be like minor leaguers with couple standouts against major league home run derby team. Yankee players are also experienced and smart and their manager is not stubborn and sometimes brainless like Rocco.

    • mikelink45, rdehring and FritzDahmus like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Sep 19 2020 04:17 AM
I just... I can't... Father in Heaven, why would you allow this to happen to the Twins fans of the world? How can anyone predict anything other than a Yankees sweep?
    • Longdistancetwins, rdehring, FritzDahmus and 1 other like this

Absolutely never....never. Twins can't beat anyone at the moment but they can't beat the Yankees at all. This is akin to Bruins-Canadiens for so many years....nomatter what...Bruins could never beat Montreal in post season...period. Twins aren't good enough to slay the dragon this year. For their own sanity (and ours) play somebody else. If we lose, well so be it. But please, not to the Yankees.

    • jun, Longdistancetwins, rdehring and 1 other like this
A healthy Yankees team is better than the White Sox, Rays, or As. I would rather play the worse team, regardless of the history.
    • jun, mikelink45, bighat and 1 other like this
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FritzDahmus
Sep 19 2020 07:25 AM

History repeats itself for a reason.

 

In this case the Yankees look at their past success against the Twins to prepare themselves for the current playoff series.....and all they see is success. So what else should they expect??

 

The Twins get nervous because of their lack of success....and fear more of the same.

 

Sweep.

 

 

    • rdehring likes this
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Nine of twelve
Sep 19 2020 07:44 AM

Contrary to what some here seem to believe, the time will come when the Twins beat the Yankees in the postseason. It will happen. Someday.

    • wabene and Joey P like this

 

The most impactful development of all has been the implosion of New York’s once all-world bullpen. They rank 20th in baseball with a 4.51 ERA, a group sunk by the efforts of Adam Ottavino (6.91) and Aroldis Chapman (4.15). Tommy Kahnle has been out for all but one inning after Tommy John surgery. At least so far in this shortened campaign, the Yankee bullpen hasn’t been scary at all.

I think "implosion" is an oversell here. Ottavino has an ugly ERA, true, but the rest of the regular NY pen has been pretty solid.

 

Team regular season bullpen ERA is misleading when evaluating a playoff matchup, because there are usually a few poor performers at the bottom of the pen who won't even sniff the playoff roster. The top 6 Yankee bullpen performers have a cumulative 3.09 ERA; the top 6 Twins, 2.70.

 

And even that might overstate the difference -- one of the Yankees top 6, Chapman, missed the first month of the season with COVID-19 and gave up 4 runs in his first 4 IP. Since then, he's been extremely dominant: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 13 K.

 

Ottavino is a bit of an odd case too -- I know you can't just throw out a player's worst game, but his worst game is an extreme outlier: he was charged with 6 runs without retiring a batter! Suffice to say, if he's utilized in the postseason, I assume he won't be allowed to let 6 batters reach without retiring any of them. :)

GROUND HOG DAY - I have been so nervous about this I wrote a blog on this site last week.I want to be wrong, but watching the Twins this past week I have not found anything to pin optimism on, except that we are hitting so bad it can only get better.  

 

Here are my wishes for the post season playoffs.We will need runs to beat the Yankees. 

  • If our starter is going well we do not have to pull him after 5 
  • Do not put Kepler at lead off
  • Let Buxton run
  • Move Sano down again until he gets hot - his k's kill too many rallies. 
  • Let Jeffers be the catcher.He has passed Garver and Avila 
  • Do not let Adrianza bat - bring back Blankenhorn 
  • Clippard and Romo should be saved for series two - they will be batting practice for that team
    • jun, woolywoolhouse and rdehring like this

The way the Twins are playing right now, it doesn't matter greatly whom they face among the teams above them in the seeding. Maybe we're in for some epic post-season heroics, but right now this offense is putting together a disappointing season, wasting a competitive year from the pitchers.

    • Danchat, jun, mikelink45 and 2 others like this

The way the Twins are playing right now, it doesn't matter greatly whom they face among the teams above them in the seeding. Maybe we're in for some epic post-season heroics, but right now this offense is putting together a disappointing season, wasting a competitive year from the pitchers.


This. Way too much attention to who they will play when it won’t matter a damn if they can’t get it together.
    • ashbury, mikelink45, bighat and 1 other like this

At least they can't lose more than 2 more in a row to them in the first round.

    • Longdistancetwins, mikelink45 and bighat like this

Tank to avoid yanks

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woolywoolhouse
Sep 19 2020 05:42 PM

If it's going to happen, it's going to happen at Target Field. Twins have the best home record in the AL (I believe they still do) but have been confusingly-terrible in September on the road. Twins have two more in Chicago, and then finish the season with five at home against Detroit and Cincinnati... Hopefully they can take one or two in Wrigley, and then find that mojo back at home in Minneapolis to carry them into the post-season. 

    • wabene likes this
I believe that if the Yankees win 2 of their next 5 games (1 vs BOS, 4 vs TOR), the Yankees will secure the tiebreaker over the Twins for playoff seeding.
I don't understand the dominant thinking here. People have complained that this season would be meaningless because of its strange nature yet they want to avoid the Yankees in the playoffs. I heartily disagree. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best. Plain and simple. Any post season success this year would only be that much sweeter if it included taking them down. If they beat us again well then it's just not our year and I'll be back here next year hoping for another chance.
    • Nine of twelve likes this