Why the Yankees dominate Minnesota

As a fan and statistician, it is upsetting to think about the past 4 times Minnesota has played the Yankees in the playoffs. They have not one a single game against those Bombers; nothing to show or prove to fans of their successful season. A big fat zero in the win column. As Fangraphs points out, it’s almost illogical that one team can dominate like this over a span of 5+ years. The turnaround from each year’s team essentially makes each playoff match totally different from the year’s past. The only thing associating each year’s team together is team location and mascots.

So what’s the deal, Twin city? There one thing I noticed when watching the recent ALDS between the two teams.

It was obvious this team was scared from the seventh inning on. You could see it in how they played, and how commentators¬†continually¬†associated the bottom of the ninth with Mariano Rivera. Honestly in the post-season, I can see why such a reputation can be pretty intimidating. Especially with his manager’s low tolerance for trouble even in the eighth, he will turn to Mariano. So even if you muster a hit in the¬†eighth, Joe Girardi will with no doubt bring out his big guns. Thus I don’t know how Minnesota could muster uup confidence in those situations. We saw it in the first two games. Minnesota blew a lead in the 6th, 7th innings, and couldn’t find their way out of the deficit. The Yankees are in the Twinkie’s heads. Better yet, Mariano Rivera is in the heads of the Twins.

And maybe this team is just too young. In the beginning of the year, i thought they were going to be great, anchored by a pitching staff including coming-of-age aces Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey. I still think fondly of these pitchers, but apparently they weren’t good enough to be slotted into the playoff rotation. Maybe we just haven’t seen the best of this Twins team. Better yet, we know each year’s team is drastically different, so why not be hopeful that the 2011 Twins > 2011 Yankees? It can happen.