Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
The Twins will head into New York this weekend with the third best record in baseball, an overhauled roster and an unhealthy amount of buzz attached to the visit.
The Twins will miss the Yankees two hottest pitchers -- CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, which is a good thing if you're looking at the short term (read: standings) and renders the outcome of the series pretty much meaningless in the longer term (read: postseason).
Yes, it would be nice for the Twins to find a way to take a couple of games from a team they didn't even beat once last season -- and maybe a couple more when the teams meet again at Target Field later this month.
But, while the Twins may be keyed up, this series means about as much to the Yankees as three games against the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. The Twins could win 6-0, 8-0 and 14-13 this weekend and the Yankees would be perfectly justified in saying, "Let's see what happens when the games really count."
I'll eat anchovies and cauliflower if the Twins play the Yankees in the postseason and Javier Vasquez is starting one of those games.
The Yankees are as much of a lock as the American League has to be playing October baseball. They can take time off to cruise.
It's easy to remember that the Yankees went 103-59 last season on their way to winning the World Series. What some Twins fans remember is that the Yankees were 17-17 at this time last year. Then they swept four games from the Twins at Yankee Stadium and were everything from steady to blazing for the rest of the season, which included three more victories over the Twins in July at the Dome and the final three during the first round of the playoffs.
Right now, Gardy and the Twins playing the Yankees is kind of what Tim Brewster and the Gophers are to Big Ten football. You can beat the Royals or South Dakota State all you want, but at some point (actually, at this point) you want to see your team take the next step.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the Twins raising the buzz-o-meter by doing well on their seven-game swing through New York, Toronto and Boston. I also hope the Twins can win without reading too much into it beyond a good weekend of baseball.
If they lose, hope will always spring eternal.
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