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Another playoff appearance, another quick exit

By Josh Newman
As I sit here listening to KFAN Radio personality Dan Cole, also known as The Common Man, I have just received his word that, according to another source, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has just been named American League Manager of the Year.

Good for him. He is a good manager and deserves the recognition. He has been the Twins manager since 2002 and the team is coming off its third-best regular season record under his direction. He has just guided the Twins to their sixth division title. He is good with his players and knows when to use everybody.

Having said all of this, I now ask you: what is it going to take to get this team to believe it can go all the way? Gardy’s regular season success has not exactly carried over to the postseason. In six postseason appearances, the Twins not only have won just one series, but they have not won a single postseason game since 2004.

Let’s face it: in the ALDS against the Yankees, the Twins were just outclassed. I admit right now that I was one of those many Twins fans who was hoping to draw anybody but the Yankees in the first round. The belief just was not there for me. I can still hear myself saying “Anybody but the Yankees! Anybody but the Yankees!”

Was my lack of faith justified? Was it possible the Twins were thinking the exact same thing?

All evidence points to: Yes.

After all, if history has taught the average Twins fan anything, it is that they need to make some drastic moves if they want to beat the Yankees. Whatever those moves are, I do not know besides to acquire another power hitter. All I know is this was Minnesota’s ninth consecutive postseason loss to New York, including two consecutive sweeps.

As I stated previously, the Twins were just outclassed. The Yankees were that much better in this series. New York is a fantastic team and they had the Twins beat in just about every possible match up. How ironic is it then that they currently trail the Texas Rangers 3 games to 1 in the ALCS?

Believe it or not, I actually thought at one point that the Twins had a chance to make their mark in this series. It was in Game 1. Minnesota had a 3-0 lead heading into the sixth inning thanks to a 2-run homer by Cuddyer in the second inning and Orlando Hudson scoring on a passed ball by Yankees catcher Jorge Posada.

Had the Twins been able to hold on to that lead, they may have been able to build off of that momentum. Instead, New York pushed four runs across the plate in the sixth inning, and two more on a home run by Mark Teixeira in the seventh inning. The Yankees held on for a 6-4 win, and never looked back.

After that loss, it looked as if the Twins just threw all hope out the window. During the final two games, the Twins managed just three extra base hits and hit .206 as a team.

Perhaps the series could have been much more competitive, at least. Maybe even an upset. But we’ll never know now, will we?

It’s true that the Twins were banged up for this series. Justin Morneau had already been lost for the year prior to the end of the season. Michael Cuddyer has just had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Nick Blackburn has had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, and Scott Baker will have arthroscopic surgery on his elbow this week. Rookie third baseman Danny Valencia had an MRI on his right elbow, and relief pitcher Jon Rauch has a sore knee that will be examined.

Throw on top of that mess that Joe Mauer will soon have an MRI on his left knee, and this is one bunch of guys that needs to find the road to recovery.

I am not too worried, though. The team has an entire offseason to recover, and my guess is they will be more than ready to go when they take the field for the 2011 season.

1 comment:

  1. I think the Twins are between a rock and a hard place, you don't want to screw up what is getting you to the post-season every year and how drastic the moves needed to beat the Yankees in the post-season are. I hate to say it just isn't realistic for the Twins without lucking out on a bunch of prospects again like right now to beat the Yankees. I mean right now after looking at the fact we haven't even taken a post-season game from them we aren't one player short or even two we are about 4 to 5. Now this could be worse we could be like many other teams who are about 16 players short of beating the Yankees in the post-season. I for one am happy to win during the regular season and maybe we can catch lightning in a bottle some year in the post-season.