Bases empty, two outs, a 3-1 game, #8 hitter up. Nothing comes down to this.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Playoff Preview: Yankees vs. Twins

This series already has one game in the books, with the Yankees winning 6-4 yesterday, but it's still worth looking at what might happen for the rest of the series.

The first question that pops into my mind when thinking about this match-up is: what kind of twins are we dealing with here? If they're identical, that could be a huge advantage for the Minnesotans. 25 pairs of identical people would provide Minnesota with all kinds of possibilities for deception. Think about running the bases: one twin could bait the Yankees into making a play at third base, only to discover he was the decoy twin, distracting the opposition while his likeness moves from first to second. An extra base might not seem like much in some cases, but over the course of a game it can really add up.

Fraternal twins, on the other hand, wouldn't provide as much of an advantage, aside from the simple fact of having double the number of players as New York, but as non-identical twins, these extra players might not even be major league caliber players. In this case, Minnesota's best strategy would probably be to pester the provoke the Yankees until things boil over and a brawl ensues, in which case Minnesota's superior numbers may be able to put several key Yankees out of commission before the umpires break things up.

Two Franciscos Liriano would dramatically improve the Twins' chances

Of course, the third possibility that we haven't mentioned yet is the rarest of all twins: siamese. It's not at all clear how things would go down if Minnesota was comprised of conjoined players; it could be a huge benefit, if each two-man conglomerate had the strength and speed of two men, but it's not entirely clear that that's how siamese twins work. They could also be awkward, unable to coordinate, and totally useless in a batter's box or on a pitcher's mound.

Given that one game has already been played, we can make some inferences. We didn't see any siamese twins last night, so that is unlikely to be the case. However, it didn't appear that Minnesota used any of its twins in Wednesday's game, so it's impossible to tell whether we're dealing with the identical or fraternal variety.

We know what we're getting from the Yankees. A group of dedicated, down-home Americans. They'll scratch and claw if they have to, but they don't have any special advantages. They're constant underdogs in this way, but they're already up a game in this series. But things could change quickly if Minnesota starts to make its duplicity work.

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