Hey, the Twins did claim the AL Central championship. And they did advance to the AL Division Series.
But it seems cruel that the Baseball Gods decided to match the Twins up with the Yankees in the best-of-five series.
The Yankees won Game 1 by a 10-4 score. Surprised? Well, history is certainly not on the Twins side, not when they are playing the Yankees, especially in the post-season. Consider that in the regular season, the Twins have not had a winning record against the Twins in a season series since 2002.
They are a combined 35-87 against the Twins in regular-season games since 2002. Hey, at least they have won 35 games. Since beat the Yankees 2-0 in the first game of the 2004 AL Division Series, the Twins have lost 11 consecutive post-season games against the Twins, the latest of the losses coming on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Astros have become post-season tested, and it showed in their 6-2 victory against the Rays in Game 1 of the AL Division Series at Minute Maid Park on Friday night. The game was scoreless through four innings, but the Astros struck tor four runs in the fifth -- two of them on a Jose Altuve home run and two more on a two-out error by Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe.
Lowe was playing in his second post-season game (the first was in the Wild Card win against Oakland). Altuve? His 33rd. In fact, Altuve is one of three current Astros who has appeared in 33 post-season games. The leader on the Rays? Kevin Keirmaier, who has appeared in three. The pitching staff is similar. Rays pitchers have one post-season win -- by Charlie Morton two years ago when he was with . . . you guessed it . . . the Astros. Houston's Justin Verlander is 7-2 alone in post-season play with the Astros and the Tigers. The Astros pitching staff has nine games of post-season experience compared to 76 games for the Astros pitching staff.
The Cardinals were not an offensive powerhouse during the regular season, by any stretch. And the offense got shut down in Game 2 of the NLDS. With a strong start by Mike Foltnewicz, and a scoreless ninth thanks to Mark Melancon, the Braves evened the best-of-five series with a 3-0 victory. It was the 10th time this year the Cardinals were shutout, the sixth time on the road.
There is no question that Clayton Kershaw is one of the most dominating starting pitchers in baseball right now -- during the regular season. The post-season, however, has been more of a challenge. With his loss in Friday's 3-0 Nationals NLDS victory, Kershaw is 9-11 with a 4.33 ERA in his post-season career. In the World Series a year ago, the lefthander gave up nine runs on 14 hits, including three home runs, in 11 innings of two losses to the Red Sox.