This is How the Yankees Own the Minnesota Twins
The sun will rise. Every Twilight movie will rock. The Yankees will beat the Twins. These are the three assurances that we can all count on in life. Everything else is just a gamble.
Earlier in this season, the Yankees swept the Twins in a four-game series by a combined score of 29-14. However, this domination hasn’t been constrained to merely 2013; it spans the entirety of Ron Gardenhire’s tenure as Twins manager.
Since Gardy took the helm in 2002, the Twins are 21-59 against the Yankees in the regular season for a solid .263 winning percentage. Then you toss in the fact that the Bronx Bombers have knocked the Twins out of the playoffs four of the last five times the Twins have made the playoffs, and you get a full blown domination.
Over the last three years, the Twins pitching staff has a combined 5.82 ERA against the Yankees which, admittedly, is probably where the staff ERA has been against everybody. It’s been a rough few years. Over that span, the team is 5-14. That .263 isn’t terrible as a batting average, but as a winning percentage? MOMMA.
If you were to ask me the cause of this American History X-style curb stomping, I would not have a good answer for you other than my go-to of the Twins are cursed to forever suffer in mediocrity.
It’s not as if the Twins’ stars have struggled mightily in this series. Joe Mauer has a career .300 batting average, which is still 22 points below his career .322 average (that’s the highest among active players, bee tee dubs). His .809 OPS is lower than his career .872, but it’s not as if this guy’s struggling mightily.
The same can be said about Justin Morneau. Morneau’s OPS against the Yankees (.880) is actually higher than his career OPS (.835). Morneau’s 14 home runs against the Yankees are his second most against a non-divisional foe, trailing only his 15 against the Oakland A’s.
The difference here is the runs driven in, a stat dependent upon the performance of the others around you. In his career, Mauer averages .1252 RBI per plate appearance. Against the Yankees, that number drops to .0987. Morneau’s RBI/PA drops to .1423 against the Yankees from his career .1622 mark.
The Twins begin a three game series in New York today to wrap up the first half of play. Having lost 11 of their last 12 games, the Twins need some type of momentum/spark of hope/life/steroids/anything. Mauer and Morneau will do their part, especially in Lefty Paradise at Yankee Stadium, but the pitching and the supporting cast need to step up, or this team will find itself in the Yankees whipping shed again and 18 games below .500 at the All-Star break.
Jim Sannes covers baseball and the Minnesota Twins weekly for numberFire. Let him know what you think on Twitter @JimSannes.