Ed Note—Everyone welcome Joseph to our front page, as his first post is coming out just in time for the playoffs to start.
This series will be one to watch.
Yankees vs. Twins. One of the most one-way rivalries in baseball. Winning the series and beating the Evil Empire would be almost like winning a championship for this fanbase. If this series is really going to be a slugfest like the matchups between the teams during the regular season, then the Twins has better have some playoff-ready hitters. In order for the Twins to succeed in the playoffs, I think the following five hitters will have to be on their game, and will have to hit in clutch situations.
The front office made some amazing moves during the offseason, and this was one of the best. First, consider how many injuries we have seen. Marwin can play every infield and outfield position, and he can become a starter at any position at any time. One of his best qualities, though, is his playoff experience and clutch hitting in the playoffs. Two years ago, he hit an clutch, game-tying homer in Game 2 of the World Series. It came in the ninth inning, and the Astros went on to win the series.
He has come up big many times for the Twins as well, and is one of the better clutch hitters in baseball. If we come at all close to winning, then it will be in part because of Marwin. This season, he has been a pretty streaky hitter, and hopefully he turns it on like he has done in past postseasons.
Nelson has been arguably the focal point of this offense so far this season, and he definitely has playoff experience. In 2011, he was the MVP of the ALCS, hitting 6 homers in 6 games. Overall, he has played in 41 games and has hit 16 homers. This year, though, he has been something else. In only 120 games, he has hit 41 homers. If he hadn’t gotten injured at all, he’d probably be sitting around 50 homers. This has all happened at 39 years old.
However, he hasn’t only hit homers. His batting average has been leading the team, at .311. He also has 108 RBIs. If he just keeps hitting like this for the playoffs, then he will be a threat to whoever the Yankees put on the mound.
Many of the Twins players don’t hit well with runners in scoring position, but Sano has thrived in those situations. At least when I watch the Twins, he has hit home runs in big spots. I don’t remember many times this season where Miguel Sano has hit a solo home run. He has hit quite well in his career against the Empire, hitting 8 homers in 16 career games. Last year, he was sent down to the minor leagues to keep working on his presence as a hitter. It definitely paid off. Sano has been a much more patient hitter. There are certain pitches that he lets go by him now that he would have swung at a couple years ago.
Defensively, Sano is above average. He is average at handling ground balls, but he has one of the strongest arms in baseball, and that more than makes up for his errors. He has had a breakout season, and he is great in big moments. At any point in time, he can hit a mistake 500 feet.
The thing about Rosario is that he is the most clutch player on the team. 17 of his 32 homers have come when the team is within two runs. I can name so many times that he has come through in the clutch this year. For instance, on May 31, against the Rays, Rosario hit a ninth inning, bases-loaded, go-ahead two-run single. Or on July 18, against the Red Sox, when Rosie hit a pinch-hit, seventh inning three-run, go-ahead homer. Or, most memorably, on September 5th, at Fenway Park, in which Rosario threw a bullet to the plate to retire the tying run, ending the game.
Rosario does a lot more than hit in the clutch, too. He leads the team in RBIs with 108, he gets the crowd going with highlight-reel catches, and he is a great presence in the clubhouse. He doesn’t disappoint, and he has the potential to be a playoff hero this postseason.
A stat that probably defines Garver’s impact on the team is the fact that he has only played 93 games. This means that he averages about one homer every three games. If he played every game, at this rate then he would have hit about 49 homers. He is arguably the best catcher in the league, considering how drastically his defense has improved. We need him to keep hitting to have success in the playoffs. He is one of the most consistent hitters on the team.
Among MLB fans, he is probably the most underrated on the team, if not in the league. This is understandable because coming into the season, he was just a little-known catching prospect with 7 career homers. A clutch hit or two in the playoffs would give him a place as one of the better catchers in the MLB.
Keys to the Series
- Hit more home runs than the Yankees.
The Twins did a good job of this in the regular season, obviously. But with guys like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on the team now, will the Bomba battle keep going the Twins’ way?
- Take advantage of the Yankees’ starting pitchers.
One of the only weaknesses that the Yanks have had is their starting pitchers. If the Twins are going to win this series, then we will have to score runs early and make their bullpen work.
- Go with the right combination of starting pitchers.
That said about the Yankees starters, the Twins ones might not be much better. Baldelli, the Manager of the Year candidate that he is, needs to find the right combination to make this work.
There we go. It would mean so much to this fanbase to get revenge on the Yankees with this minimally paid team that wasn’t expected much of.