Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Twins Playoff Predictions

We are a day away from the first postseason action in the history of Target Field. The playoffs bring a wonderful time of the year where magical things can happen. One bounce of the ball can determine if a team repeats as champions or a Cinderella is born.

Over the Twins recent run in the postseason there has usually been one team that has stood in the way, the New York Yankees. The Twins troubles with the Yankees has been well documented. Whether it be the regular season or the postseason the Twins have had a hard time coming out on top against the Bronx Bombers. The Twins finished this season 2-4 against the Yanks. There was some light at the end of the tunnel when Jason Kubel hit a grand slam off of Mariano Riveria. It was the first time that the Twins had won at the new Yankee Stadium. The good news is only two out of the five games will be played in the Bronx. The Twins have home-field advantage for the first round and they also have the best home record out of their AL competitors.

The ESPN Experts are pretty close to split on who will win the series (6-4 in favor of the Yankees). The MLB.com says the Twins will win if they play the type of baseball that they have for the good portion of the season. "This is a more balanced Minnesota team than its predecessors that lost in the postseason to the Yankees. But the ultimate postseason proof requires an actual victory over the Yankees," said Mike Bauman of MLB.com.

So here we are on the eve of a new postseason era in Twins history. My game by game predictions for the series are listed below:

Game 1: CC Sabathia vs. Francisco Liriano @ Target Field
The first game might be the make or break moment for the Twins. CC Sabathia is by far the best pitcher that the Twins will face. If the Twins can pull-out a win against Sabathia the momentum of the series swings in favor of the Twins.
Liriano: I predict that Liriano will throw five innings and give up three runs. Two of these runs will be off of a Nick Swisher homerun. From there the Twins will turn to their bullpen to pitch the 6th through the 9th. I expect that to look something like Guerrier, Crain, Fuentes, Capps.
Sabathia: Until the 7th inning Sabathia will only give up one run. The Twins will start a rally in the 7th with the bottom half of their line-up. Valencia and Hardy will get on to push Sabathia out of the game. The Twins will add an extra run in this inning. They will find the rest of their runs once they have gotten to the Yankees bullpen.
Final Results: Twins win 4-3. WP-(Crain 1-0) LP-(Woods 0-1) SV-(Capps 1)

Game 2 Andy Pettitte vs. Carl Pavano @ Target Field

Pettitte is coming off some injuries and bad outings since he returned to the pitching rotation. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to being back in the comfort of the playoffs or if his age will impact his performance.
Pettitte: Pettitte will not look strong. He will only last into the 4th inning. The Twins will score five earned runs off of Pettite. The bullpen will be turned to and proceed to add to the Yankees deficit.
Pavano: Since the Twins used a lot of their bullpen in the first game, it will once again be up to Pavano to eat up innings. Pavano will pitch through the 7th and give up four earned runs. Fuentes and Capps will once again shut the door. Of course Capps will make it interesting in a non-save situation and allow a run in the 9th. But a nicely turned double play will end the threat.
Final Results: Twins win 8-5 WP-Pavano (1-0) LP-Pettitte (0-1)

Game 3 Brian Duensing vs. Phil Hughes @ Yankee Stadium
The Yankees will have their backs against the wall and come out swinging. They are the defending champs.
Duensing will be in a tough situation. On the road in a hostile environment and with the defending champs looking to stay afloat. I expect the Yankees to jump to an early lead. Duensing will only make it into the 4th and give up six runs. Kevin Slowey will relieve Duensing and put a string of zeros on the board but the damage had already been done.
Hughes: Phil Hughes will pitch well and last 7 innings. Hughes will be able to get into a comfort zone on the mound after he is handed an early lead from his offense. He will give way to Mariano Riveria who will pitch the 8th and 9th innings for his first save in the series.
Final Results: Yankees win 6-3 WP-Hughes (1-0) LP-Duensing (0-1) SV- Riveria (1)

Game 4 Nick Blackburn vs. CC Sabathia @ Yankee Stadium
With their backs once again against the wall, the Yankees will turn to their ace on short rest. Sabathia has been a beast over the past few seasons when it comes to short rest. So how will he do in 2010?
Sabathia: Will continue his brilliance on short rest. The problem is he is going against a very unlikely counterpart. Sabathia will pitch eight strong innings only allowing two runs. Will it be enough?
Blackburn: Blackburn looked the best out of any of the starters since the Twins clinched the division. He has pitched in high pressured situations before, such as Game 163 in 2008. For eight innings he will go toe to toe with a Cy Young candidate and a line-up full of future hall-of-famers. But on this day he will prevail. Blackburn will allow one run over seven innings. Fuentes will pitch the 8th and Capps the 9th for his 2nd save in the series.
Final Results: Twins win 2-1 WP-Blackburn (1-0) LP-Sabathia (0-1) SV-Capps (2)

The Twins beat the Yankees in 4 games.

Will any of the events listed above actually happen the way that I have described? Most likely not. But it is fun to look into the crystal ball and pick out what could happen. If things do happen the way I have listed above, remember that you heard it here first. If they don't happen this way, I will have to invest in a new crystal ball.

The Twins are only 11 wins away from their 3rd World Series title since moving to Minnesota.


Topper said...

Man, leave it to me to pick the ONE game to attend that they're going to lose!

jta5 said...

Topper that is funny. But, don't feel bad, it will be Yanks in 3. Twins are not fielding, hitting, or pitching well. The Braves and Twins are the bottom of the barrel in each League and will be swept out.

JimCrikket said...

Hmmm... if the Twins aren't doing anything well, what does that say about the Yankees? Since August 1, don't they have the WORST record of any AL East team? This series belongs to the Twins unless Sabathia can pitch 3 games. Pettitte, Hughes and the Yankee bullpen have no chance of beating the Twins. If the Twins manage to beat Sabathia in Game 1, look for a sweep.

Baseball_Lipgloss said...

On the outside I am nonchalant and setting myself up for disappointment. On the inside I feel your prediction is correct!


RecordTime said...

This prediction is laughably specific. It sounds closer to a baseball novel than a prediction.