Here's Your Life Preserver: the 2001 ALDS


It's hard to overstate how badly the Twins have painted themselves into a corner. They've lost two games at home, and now find themselves needing to win two consecutive games at Yankee Stadium just to get the chance to come back to Minneapolis and win a third, knowing they'll have to get past C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte to improbably advance. And if you thought the umpires weren't giving you any calls at Target Field...

However, I come not to piss and moan about strikezones, starting pitchers who falter late, Jesse Crain, or the sudden silence of reliable bats; no, I come to tell you that there is hope in the not-too-distant past, hope that is provided by...the New York Yankees.

In 2001, the Yankees played host to the Oakland A's in the ALDS. They found themselves in a 2-0 hole after running into the formidable starting pitching of Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson, and needing to go to the Blyleven-beloved foul territory of Network Associates Coliseum and take on Barry Zito. Zito handled them, allowing just one run (a Jorge Posada home run) on two hits. However, the Yankees countered with a shutout from Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera, aided by "The Flip" play from Derek Jeter to Posada to nail the lumbering Jeremy Giambi at the plate. You may have seen that on ESPN one million times.

In Game 4, the Yankees jumped all over Cory Lidle early, got by on the cosmic slop of Orlando Hernandez, and cruised to a 9-2 victory, sending the series back the Bronx for a deciding 5th game against game 2 nemesis Mulder. Despite a short start from Roger Clemens, the Yankees were able to get to Mulder (and Hudson in relief) just enough to win 5-3 and advance to the ALCS.

The question is, do you think the Twins have that type of performance in them? After all, that 2001 Yankees team had won the World Series in four of the previous five seasons, while the Twins have to go on the road and play against their post-season Kryptonite. That said: Can the Twins get a Mussina-esque performance from Brian Duensing tomorrow night? (Yes.) Can the Twins hit Phil Hughes? (Yes.) Can the face of the Twins make a signature, game-changing play in the field, a la Derek Jeter? (Yes, Joe Mauer, you can do that.) Can they build off the momentum of a Game 3 victory at Yankee Stadium, get in the ring against C.C. Sabathia and his jodhpurs in Game 4, and bring this mother back home for a Game 5 at Target Field?

Yes. So do it, then.

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