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While watching the Twins and Yankees play last night, all I could think about was Friday the 13th. Strange, I know, but bear with me. As I tweeted following Alex Rodriguez’s two-run first inning home run, “I feel like I’ve seen this movie before.” The response came via Twitter, “…and all of its sequels.”
For Twins fans, these series with the Yankees – both in the regular season and in the playoffs – have become like the horror film.
- Sure, at first you hardly even realize what’s happening. The Twins in the early and mid-00’s were new to the playoffs and we were filled with hope. Friday the 13th came out in 1980, and it was new, the storylines hadn’t yet been known and familiar.
- But over time, it becomes way too predictable. Jason is going to chase a woman, and she’s either going to run deep into the woods or into some abandoned cabin. We know the cast of characters. It becomes predictable. So many Yankees have hurt the Twins. A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira, Cano, Posada, Pettitte, Sabathia, Robertson, Joba, and of course, Mariano Rivera have all taken their turns in the role of Jason. Last night, it was predictable that after Scott Baker hit Mark Teixeira with an 0-2 pitch with two outs that Alex Rodriguez would make him pay. And he did with a two-run homer.
- Yes, we know what is going to happen, but we continue to watch because we’re just not sure. How is it going to happen, and when?
- Many of these horror films throw in some intentional comic relief. It’s not really all that funny, but we chuckle because it helps take our minds away from the fear for just a few seconds. Twins fans need to find a way to smile even through the frustration. I mean, sometimes with the things that happen between the Twins and Yankees, you can’t help but shake your head and chuckle.
- Every once in awhile, the Twins sneak a win. I mean, they have won six games (in 37 chances) against the Yankees since 2002. As Twins fans, we want to think that the rare Twins win over the Yankees means something bigger, an end to the losing. But no. In 1984, there was Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. Someone gets to play hero (like Jason Kubel a year ago). But a year later, there was Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. It starts anew.
- In 1993, there was The Final Friday. In 2009, there was a Friday the 13th: Part 12. Seriously. It is getting old. Friday the 13th has been a movie reality for 30 years. The Yankees dominance over the Twins is also getting really old, and it’s only been a decade.
- Jason Voorhees keeps coming out of retired in new movies. The only thing I can think of is trying to talk Pedro Martinez into coming out of retirement so he can bring back the “Yankees are our daddies” quote.
- As fans, we continue to watch in the hope that the “Good Guys” will topple the bad guys. Just have to hold out hope that the good guys can occasionally prevail. (You know, kind of like when you watch Titanic and you want it to end much differently.)
Obviously the Twins and Yankees still have three more games to play this week. The Twins will get to face CC Sabathia on Tuesday, Freddy Garcia on Wednesday and AJ Burnett on Thursday. The Twins can still split this series and feel really good heading home for their home opener on Friday. The pitchers will have to bear down. It’s amazing to me that when the Twins pitchers make a mistake, the Yankees hitters always take advantage. Meanwhile, the Twins hitters had some very hittable pitches and the results were not the same.
- Scott Baker really settled in after allowing the two, two-run homers in the first and second innings. He threw four more innings and did not allow another run. It is certainly a start he can and should build upon, but it would always be nicer if he could build upon a start in which he gave up less runs.
- Ivan Nova sure looked solid in his six inning, Quality Start. Of course, we should know that he will be a solid pitcher for the Yankees. If there is one thing that we know, it is that they are willing to trade just about anyone for a pitcher that will help them. However, if they don’t trade a prospect, it’s because they believe that he can contribute well. Nova has been terrific, better with the Yankees than he really was in the minor leagues.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka was really questioned in the media and by fans after a rough weekend in Toronto. With a 2-4 night, he is now hitting .267. He made a couple more solid plays with his glove, and he has shown good range going to his left. After playing terrific defense throughout spring training, it was hard for me to be too worried about two errors in those three games. He is going to be solid defensively. Most impressive to me so far has been his ability to turn the double play really well. But, just to be fair and open, I said that same thing about Luis Rivas. He could really turn a double play well too!
- Wasn’t it nice to see the Justin Morneau, helicopter follow-through on his two hits on Monday night? On his double, he went down to get a low pitch, and after making contact, he let go with his left hand and the bat spun around over his head. He just missed a couple of pitches in the 8th inning off of Rafael Soriano, but it’s clear that he is back and very close.
- After making a terrific running catch at the wall in left centerfield to help Joe Nathan record his first save in over a year on Sunday, Delmon Young made a couple of very nice running catches on Monday night as well. The Twins had cut the Yankees lead to 4-2 a half-inning earlier, but the Yankees had runners on second and third with two outs. Speedster Brett Gardner hit a line drive down the left field line. Young got a good jump and did a semi-dive slide thing to make what was a tremendous catch. The catch saved the Twins at least two runs and gave them hope for the rest of the game.
TWINS LINEUP CHALLENGE
Looking forward to Tuesday night’s game, I will be very intrigued by the Twins lineup. With a tough, hard-throwing left-hander (Sabathia) on the mound for the Yankees, who will be in the lineup for the Twins? How have some of the Twins hitters done against Sabathia in the last decade, including postseason (thanks to Baseball Reference)? Here’s a look:
- After getting Monday off, Michael Cuddyer will be back in the lineup. He leads the way with 58 at bats off of Sabathia. He has hit .241/.290/.414 with two homers and nine RBI.
- In the world of random, small sample, strange stats, Alexi Casilla is hitting .692/.692/.846 (1.538) against Sabathia. He has nine hits in 13 at bats, including two doubles.
- Jason Kubel has gone 0-7 with a walk and three strikeouts, so I’m pretty sure he won’t play.
- Jim Thome has just four hits in 28 at bats against Sabathia. He has struck out 14 times, with just three walks. Those four hits? All of them have been home runs.
- Joe Mauer is 6-29 with two doubles. He’s hit .207/.258/.276 with 12 strikeouts.
- Justin Morneau has gone 6-39 (.154/.261/.282) with one run run. He’s walked four times and struck out only seven times.
- Delmon Young has three hits in 21 at bats. He has had one double.
- Denard Span has gone 3-10 with a double.
- Matt Tolbert is 0-2 against him. Danny Valencia went 0-2 with a walk and two strikeouts against Sabathia in Game 1 of last year’s playoffs.
- Obviously Tsuyoshi Nishioka has not batted against Sabathia. Likewise, Drew Butera and Jason Repko have never batted against the Yankees ace.
THE CONTEST – I will send one copy of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2011 to the first person to enter in the StarTribune.com comments the starting lineup for the Twins on Tuesday night against Sabathia and the Yankees. Include the batters, one through nine, with their positions. One entry per person. If someone posts multiple lineups, I will use their first one. Contest ends as soon as the lineups become public. I will inform the winner through the StarTribune.com’s Comments section.
SETH’S LINEUP GUESS: Alexi Casilla SS, Tsuyoshi Nishioka 2B, Joe Mauer C, Justin Morneau 1B, Delmon Young LF, Jim Thome DH, Michael Cuddyer RF, Danny Valencia 3B, Jason Repko CF.
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