All games have an outcome there is a winner and a loser. Then there are games that puts an entire season on the line which can mean everything and then some.
Tuesday night one of those games, between Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins will take place. It is the most important game of the season for both team; it is the whole season.
The winners’ fly to New York to face the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. Do the Yankees want Twins or wild group of Tigers? How about Twin Tigers? Kidding.
The other team goes home as just austere losers, rehashing previous games where they knowingly should have or could have won. Going on maybe it is a lesson to be learned but for sure one will hurt pretty badly for awhile.
Whatever the outcome of this tie-breaker, the Yankees progress towards the World Series will include having to play either the Twins or the Tigers. Who would the Yankees rather face?
Both teams will exhaust themselves and play as if everything came down to this one game but in essence it did.
Here are a few thoughts on both.
1. The Twins are hot, hot, hot right now. The team made up a seven game deficit by playing three weeks of must win baseball.
The Twins have been here before, losing a game to the White Sox last year for the same prize, a trip to the playoffs.
In Minnesota the fans were not expecting a post-season berth to be in range as of a month ago. The Metrodump, as some fans refer to the Twins home field is in it’s last season but seems like it is not ready to close just yet.
The Bombers old pal, “American Idle” aka. Carl Pavano might have something to prove in New York. The Yankees and the fans did not like him but in fact he did get $40 million for pitching just twin games. Our mistake, no way the Twins can keep Pavano.
The “twin” stars are Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Clearly the pair are the best players on the roaster. Morneau is out for the season and it will be a noticably missed bat in their line-up. And it especially makes the Yankees job easier, if the Twins advance to the Stadium.
The Twins pitchers are not as good as the Tigers. The team lacks an ace, like Detroit’s Justin Verlander who is awesome. It is true that the Twins late season surge has something to due with better pitching but not one solid ace.
Scott Baker will pitch to the Tigers on Tuesday. He has not done that well in the past against the Detroit bats. I would prepare for a strategy of take advantage right away and make it early in the game as well as in Baker’s pitch count.
The Yankees pitching staff would rather the face the Twins as the Bombers are clearly favored.
In the playoffs where it is difficult under pressure for the best of pitchers in baseball, the so-so guys must have it a lot worse. Lower expectations on pitchers sometimes helps.
This season the Yankees have swept the Twins both series. Winning four in New York and three in the Metrodump, so 7-0 this year. Not bad odds for the Yanks but remeber the playoffs are a clean slate.
2. The Detroit Tigers just handed this opportunity to the Twins.
A month ago, everyone believed that Detroit had the AL Central in the bag. Detroit added pick-ups at the trade deadline that turned the team from good to contenders. The Tigers seemed purring to go.
The hitters on the Tigers have always been tough for for the Yanks. Handling the Twins bats over the Tiger line-up would be better for sure.
Curtis Granderson is fast and has 28 homers as the lead-off. Miguel Cabrera is a slugger and one of the best batters in the game. Magglio Ordonez is scary when he is game-on.
Trust me in the playoffs some of the lazy Tigers will not be so lazy, as we all know this has been a problem in the past for the team. If Cabera can get hot, it will boost the team.
In the six games played the Tigers lost five against the Yankees. The one loss was to Verlander but with a caliber pitcher, like JV on the mound it is a tad more acceptable or expected.
Maybe the Tigers wares and tears get the best of them. The Yankees will have a lot of rest and could have an advantage because of that. Time will tell…. but when you have a Justin with the last name Verlander on the mound that only helps, in a HUGE way.
3. If you are wondering how each teamed fared since September 5, 2009 to today, here is a examination of both teams.
As of a month ago, the Tigers had 74 (W) and 61 (L) with a nice six game cushion over Minnesota, who were 68 (W) and 67 (L).
Just four weeks later on October 5, 2009 the Twins had won 18 of the remaining games, flip-flop to Detroit who lost 15 games.
The Tigers were the better team and I think are still overall. Mauer and Morneau are the Twin stars but the Tigers have an arsenal in comparison.
That is where it gets complicated because do you want the hot team or the better team?