Monday, October 4, 2010

Win Twins: American League Division Series Preview

Even though we all know the New York Yankees are going to sweep since they completely own the Minnesota Twins in every way, Kubel homer off Rivera aside, I feel like I should toss up some kind of preview of some kind since I like to pretend I'm a Twins writer. So how about we take a look, position by position, so we can truly get a read on how badly teh Yanks are going to own this sucker.

CATCHER: Joe Mauer (.327/.402/.469 - 9 HRs) vs. Jorge Posada (.248/.357/.454).  Mauer is going to win this battle against any playoff catcher this year, although there's somebody in San Fran who might make a pretty good argument, but his hitting - even with his power disappearing - combined with his defense make him easily the winner in this argument.  Posada is still an ageless wonder but his skills are starting to diminish, even though - and you're going to hear this a lot with NYY - he's still patient and draws a lot of walks and can still hit for power.  His arm is basically shot (he only threw out 16% of base-stealers this year) but that won't really matter since the Twins can't/don't really run.  ADVANTAGE:  Twins

FIRST BASE:  Michael Cuddyer (.271/.336/.417 - 14 HRs) vs. Mark Texeira (.256/.365/.481 - 33 HRs).  This year was an off year for Tex (worst avg, obp, and slugging since he was a rook), but he still blows what the Twins have to offer completely out of the water.  The bad Cuddy showed up this year, which is unfortunate because this is when they could use him most, what with their best player on the shelf the second half of the year.  Hopefully he can recapture some of that 2006/2009 magic, because the Twins are going to need all the big bats they can get.  Plus, Texeira is a 3-time gold glover, and although it's commendable that Cuddy is willing to play wherever they need him he's a god awful 1B-man.  ADVANTAGE:  Yankees 

SECOND BASE:  Orlando Hudson (.268/.338/.372 - 10 SBs) vs. Robinson Cano (.319/.381/.534 - 29 HRs).  Look at those numbers.  Cano is just ridiculous.  Do you realize that slugging percentage of Cano's is the second-highest of any player in this series, behind on Jim Thome?  And we know what Thome has done, but Cano isn't that far behind.  And he plays frickin' second base!  I don't mind Hudson, despite the fact that he's hit .171 since September 8th, but he's far, far, far outclassed here.  Cano is basically Joe Mauer with power, while O-Hud is, well, Alexi Casilla with a a better reputation.  ADVANTAGE:  Yankees

THIRD BASE:  Danny Valencia (.311/.351/.448 - 7 HRs) vs. Alex Rodriguez (.270/.341/.506 - 30 HRs).  Similar to Texeira, A-Rod had one of the worst years of his entire career but still blows the Twins' offering away.  Not as badly as Tex, thanks to Valencia's high average, good defense, and the fact that he seems to be getting better, but Rodiguez is still so far beyond Dannyboy that, much like Dr. Dre said to his rival rappers, "You couldn't see me with binoculars."  Oh, and if you want to make the argument right now that A-Rod chokes in the playoffs do me a favor:  shut down the internet window you are viewing this blog on and never, ever, ever come back here again because you are a retard.  Also, and this has nothing to do with anything right now except that I'm watching Zombieland, I really dig Emma Stone.  ADVANTAGE:  Yankees

SHORTSTOP:  J.J. Hardy (.268/.320/.394 - 6 HRs) vs. Derek Jeter (.270/.340/.370 - 18 SBs).  In what is quickly becoming a common theme, Jeter is having the worst year of his career, but this one is at least close.  In actually, Hardy out OPSes Jeter, even though it's like comparing Alexi Casilla to Matt Tolbert, thanks to his higher slugging, and according to every defensive metric I looked it, which is everything fangraphs has, Hardy is a better fielder.  So we're going to have to give this one to Minnesota.  Which doesn't feel right.  And not because it's Captain Intensity and Sportsmanship, because he's been overrated for years, but because it's Hardy and he kind of sucks.  Sorry ladies.  ADVANTAGE:  Twins

LEFT FIELD:  Delmon Young (.298/.333/.493 - 21 HRs) vs. Brett Gardner (.277/.383/.379 - 47 SBs).  Tough call, because these guys couldn't be more different.  Young is the lumbering stick-man, finally coming into his own and showing some of his promise while at every pitch within a 4-mile radius of home plate.  Gardner is the fleet of foot slap-hitter who is probably the best left-fielder in baseball and is very selective at the plate.  It is close, but Young's extra power can't make up for Gardner's non-hitting skills.  And I don't mean like, his ability to cook a nice steak on the grill (top notch from what I hear.  He uses a little bit of garlic butter is the rumor), I mean the speed and fielding thing.   ADVANTAGE:  Yankees

CENTER FIELD:   Denard Span (.264/.331/.348 - 26 SBs, 10 3Bs) vs. Curtis Granderson (.247/.324/.468 - 24 HRs).  Sigh.  Remember when Span looked like he was going to become your prototypical leadoff hitter?  Like a poor man's Tim Raines with less steals?  Well now he's more like a poor man's Vince Coleman with way, way less steals (NOTE:  Coleman was actually a terrible hitter, which you probably don't remember because you were blinded by his blindingly blinding speed.  Blind.)  Granderson has been just barely good this year, but he destroys the new, slower Vince Coleman.  Quick, guess how many walks Spoleman has had since August 24th:  It's 12.  Jason Repko has nine in that same time frame, and he plays like every 8th day.  In short, Denard Span is a huge disappointment and I hope he gets the mumps.  ADVANTAGE:  Yankees

RIGHT FIELD:  Jason Kubel (.249/.323/.427 - 21 HRs) vs. Nick Swisher (.288/.359/.511 - 29 HRs).  Both of these guys would be better off playing softball so don't expect any great fielding antics (unless you count diving and catching a ball a normal fielder would get to standing up as a great fielding play), but Swisher is merely bad while my boy Kubes is basically a butcher of historic proportions.  And as far as hitting goes, Kubel is Kubel this year, while Swisher is what Kubel was last year.  No contest.  ADVANTAGE:  Yankees

DESIGNATED HITTER:  Jim Thome (.283/.412/.627 - 25 HRs) vs. Lance Berkman (.248/.368/.413).  Thank god Thome is involved here, because he'd win a comparison against anyone.  Berkman?  Please.  A-Rod?  Not this year.  Babe Ruth?  Sorry fatty.  Zeus?  No mythical beings allowed.  Jesus?  I said no mythical beings allowed.  So Berkman and his big giant chin have no chance.  ADVANTAGE:  Twins

STARTER #1/#5:   Francisco Liriano (14-10, 3.62 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) vs. CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18 ERA, 1.19 WHIP).  This is an incredibly even matchup, especially because when you start looking at the nerd stats Liriano actually comes out pretty far ahead thanks to his great HR/9 mark and because his walk and strikeout numbers are way better than Sabathia's.  Just looking at the "mainstream" stats you'd pick Sabathia, but go a bit deeper and it's pretty obvious Liriano has actually been the better pitcher this year, and it's actually not all that close.  ADVANTAGE:  Twins

STARTER #2:  Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.75 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) vs. Andy Pettitte (11-3, 3.28 ERA, 1.27 WHIP).  This is a pretty even matchup, if you ignore the fact that the Twins seemingly couldn't hit Pettitte if he tossed the ball underhand.  A little wrinkle here is that Pettite is just getting back from injury, having pitched just three times since mid-July, and topped out at just 88 pitches in those three starts since returning.  Pavano has been very good this year, even though he's tapered off a bit since that streak of 18 consecutive complete games or whatever it was, and with his propensity to throw strikes the patient approach of the Yankees shouldn't bother him, and may even play in his favor.  ADVANTAGE:  Twins

STARTER #3:  Brian Duensing (10-3, 2.62 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) vs. Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19 ERA, 1.25 WHIP).  One thing I really love about this matchup is that since the all-star break Hughes has been absolutely awful, with an ERA near 5 despite a fluky low BABIP of .262 and less than a 2-1 KK/BB ratio.  That means he's been simply dreadful.  And we know, outside of his last few starts, that Duensing has been brilliant this year, so all signs point to a Twinkie advantage.  Except of course, that the last time he pitched at Yankee Stadium in the playoffs he got shelled.  Still.....ADVANTAGE:  Twins

STARTER #4:  Nick Blackburn (10-12, 5.42 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) vs. A.J. Burnett (10-15, 5.26 ERA, 1.51 WHIP).  I know Blackburn has been pitching must better since his trip to AAA, and I know Burnett is mostly a mess, but I can't possibly give the advantage to the Twins here.  Blackburn doesn't have great stuff so he must rely on location so much that his margin for error is razor-thin, and when he's even slightly off he's gotten roasted by the likes of Baltimore, Oakland, and Kansas City - can you imagine what the Yankees will do to him if he's not 100% locked in?  It's not like Burnett has been great lately, since June 4th his ERA is 6.46, and I know Blackburn has come up in the clutch in the past, but I just can't do it.  Plus Sabathia is almost certainly going to be the one pitching this game.  ADVANTAGE:  Yankees

[NOTE:  New York hasn't announced their pitching lineup, so this is all just conjecture.  Good chance Sabathia comes back to pitch game #4 (where he'd obviously have a huge advantage over Blackburn), leaving Pettitte vs. Liriano for game 5 if it gets that far.]

CLOSER:  Matt Capps (42/48 saves, 2.47 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) vs. Mariano Rivera (33/38 saves, 1.80 ERA, 0.83 WHIP).  Father fucking time aka the Sandman just keeps rolling along, and you can throw out that blown save to the Twins earlier because those 2 ERs he allowed accounted for 33% of the ERs he allowed through August.  Of course, he's been super-mortal here in September, with an ERA of 7.38 and 3 blown saves in the month, but I'm not exactly ready to call him done just yet.  Plus, the best team Capps has ever played on before this year was a 68-win Pirate team, so not only has he never pitched in the playoffs, but he's really never pitched in a meaningful game.  Seriously, how do you feel when you think about Capps coming in to Yankee Stadium in the bottom of the ninth with the Twins up 3-2? Nauseous, at best.  ADVANTAGE:  Yankees

BULLPEN:   Crain/Fuentes/Guerrier/Mijaries/Rauch vs. Wood/Chamberlain/Robertson/Gaudin/Logan.  I haven't seen the Yankees postseason roster, so I'm not sure if all those guys will be on there, but the main three - Wood, Chamberlain, and Robertson - certainly will be.  Wood has basically been unhittable since he came over from Cleveland, but Chamberlain hasn't been great this year (although he still strikes out a ton of guys and can be untouchable when he's on) and Robertson is definitely hittable.  One thing that should help the Twins out is that the only lefty in the pen is Boone Logan, and although he's been good this year and particularly tough on lefties, he's been awful in his career overall and hasn't ever pitched in the postseason - could be where the Twins can take advantage.  Overall, despite the struggles in the last couple of weeks, I like the Twins' group better.  Although every single one of them scares me to death.  ADVANTAGE:  Twins 

Total it all up and the Twins look good on the mound, with the Yankees holding an advantage at the plate and win the overall breakdown by the slimmest of  margins at 8-7.  Of course, games aren't played with words on crappy, third-rate blogs, they're played between the lines where anything can happen.  Because this is your state, this is your team, and this is Twins Territory!

Yanks in 4.

But not if WonderbabyTM has anything to say about it.

If you're looking for another take, here's Reusse's breakdown using a similar method, but the results are very, very different and a lot more stupider.


Luda said...

Wonderbaby needs to watch more bieber.

nanny 911 said...

Is English that kid's second language?

Loretta8 said...

check-plus for Keep Their Heads Ringin' reference

Sabermetrician Nerd said...

What? Everybody knows that baseball games are pre-determined events based on the strength of advanced statisics.

Dawg said...

WWWWW - I have some real bad news for you. I stumbled across Nick's Twins Blog and found that your biggest cheerleader Rghrbek was professing his love to your hated rival. Listed below is his exact quote

"rghrbek said...

You are probably my favorite blogger....."

Disgusting isn't it? You should probably give Rghrbek a lifetime ban from DWG.

WWWWWW said...

Ouch. That hurts, man.

SSF said...

Mama W said...

We taught her a language to keep her from offending people. Honestly, all she says when you are around is what a dbag you are.