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I assume you all read the title and assumed I was talking about myself, but that is “Writers Block!” No, I’m talking about the apparent Mental Block that the Twins and their fans seem to have when it comes to the New York Yankees. Yes, they have an amazing tradition and history of incredible success. Yes, they are a team full of very talented players. No question. The lineup they rolled out last night was very good. But they are not invincible. The last couple of years, they didn’t make the playoffs.
The players all seem to feel a little extra pressure when they play the Yankees and it is quite evident on the field, especially with the bats! Perfect example of that was Michael Cuddyer’s bases loaded horrible at bat strikeout against a struggling AJ Burnett that probably was the key at bat in the game.
And to make it worse, the announcers keep reminding us of how great the Yankees are. And again, they are good, and they have great history. But to hear over and over again that “you can’t make any mistakes against the Yankees” or “you have to do all the little things right against the Yankees” or “You can’t beat yourself against the Yankees”, is a little ridiculous. I mean, think about it. You can’t do those things against the Red Sox either, or the Tigers, or the Royals. And seriously, Ron Coomer, we know you used to play for the Yankees and you’re still buddy-buddy with a couple of the guys, but you work for the Twins telecast.
Finally, the Twins have good players in their own right, and many of them matchup very favorably with the Yankees counterparts. Joe Mauer is the best catcher in the game. Justin Morneau doesn’t have to take a back seat to anyone at 1B (OK, maybe Pujols, but everyone has to do that). Denard Span is maybe the best leadoff hitter in the league. Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer and Joe Crede have provided good power at their positions. The starters are all capable of performing well, even against this lineup. Joe Nathan is every bit as good and as dominant as Mariano Rivera, just doesn’t have the playoff experience to get that same recognition.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong! Maybe it is something else?! What do you think?