Those Damn Yankees
Image courtesy of Noah K. Murray, USA TodayAll right, I admit it was too harsh to say Minnesota cowered against the Yanks. They competed (Joe Mauer had one of his most epic ABs ever on Wednesday afternoon), and have given us zero reason this year to doubt their resiliency or resolve.
But from the very start of the series, which commenced with a dizzying flurry of whiffs against Jaime Garcia, the Twins looked intimidated and overmatched. New York's superiority only seemed to crystalize as the games progressed. And that just serves to reinforce an inescapable narrative – that a mental block is at play, and this Little Team That Could shrinks in the Big Apple.
It's a bit hard to buy into this. There is basically zero continuity that holds over from the beginning of this era of ineptitude in the rivalry. But in a game as random as baseball, you'd expect more successes out of sheer luck and variance than the Twins have been able to stumble into.
Rarely has the talent between these teams been as lopsided as the outcomes have suggested over the past 15 years, but those outcomes reliably never change. Minnesota hasn't won a season series against New York during that span, and their winning percentage against them is roughly on par with the 2003 Tigers, who lost 119 games.
This week's series just brought more of the same, and gave little reason to believe we should expect anything else in the near future.
Incidentally, reliving this nightmare is now basically the best thing we can hope for, as the Twins will likely be heading back to Yankee Stadium for a Wild Card showdown if they can hold their ground the rest of the way (though Boston is also a possibility).
We've seen this group respond positively to setbacks time and time again this year. Maybe another Bummer in the Bronx will provide the fuel they need to pull it together in these final 11 days.
A chance to return and make it right. A chance to squash this narrative that nags at the franchise like an ache that won't go away.
Speaking of which, if they do get that chance, the Twins had better hope they have Miguel Sano back to help out. Under those bright lights, the flashy star's absence was more noticeable than ever. To that end, signs are as ominous as a late deficit with Mariano Rivera – er, Aroldis Chapman – warming in the pen.
- DelusionalTwinsFan likes this