If you are a ‘casual’ baseball observer living in the Northeast you may not have given the Minnesota Twins a second thought since the Yankees gave them a 3-0 beatdown in the 2009 American League Division Series en route to their 27th World Series title.
Well, here are five things you should know about the 2010 Minnesota Twins as the Yankees get ready to face them beginning Wednesday night in Minneapolis in the 2010 MLB playoffs.
1. They don’t play in the Metrodome any more. The Twins have a brand-new ball yard called Target Field and it is OUTDOORS. Yes, that means outdoor baseball in Minneapolis in October. Hey, anything is better than playing in the old ‘Baggy Dome’ the Twins used to call home, an ugly, loud place where Minnesota had a huge home field advantage. By the way, Wednesday night’s Minneapolis forecast is for temperatures in the high 50s with no rain. Lucky.
2. Star first baseman Justin Morneau won’t play. Morneau, a left-handed slugger and former AL MVP, has been out since July after suffering a concussion in a collision at second base. This week the Twins ruled him out for the postseason.
3. Long-time closer Joe Nathan is also missing. The Twins lost the great Nathan to an elbow injury before the season even began, and still managed to win 94 games and the American League Central Division. Matt Capps, a midseason acquisition from the Washington Nationals, is now Minnesota’s closer.
4. Carl Pavano is their winningest pitcher. Yes, THAT Carl Pavano. The one who took $40 million of the Yankees money over four seasons, pitched a total of 145.2 innings and won nine games. He went 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA for the Twins this season and pitched 221 innings. And the Twins, from what I have read, actually like the guy. Utterly amazing.
5. The Yankees always beat the Twins in the postseason. It happened in 2009, 2004 and 2003 — the last three times the teams have met in the playoffs.