It took 163 regular season games and 2 playoff games, but I finally figured out the 2009 Minnesota Twins. They can, but they don't. In Friday evening's loss to the Yankees, they proved that they can beat the Yankees, but ultimately lost the game. A serviceable, middle-of-the-rotation pitcher can pitch deep into the ballgame allowing only one run. A lousy utility infielder starting at second by default can get a clutch hit in the 8th inning to take a two-run lead. One of 2008's worst relief pitchers can toss an uneventful bottom of the 8th. And I don't care who is coming to bat in the 9th, one of the game's most respected closers can retire three hitters without surrendering 2 runs. If the three most improbable of these actually happened, then the Twins can win that game and beat the Yankees in a 5-game series.
Instead, they dug themselves a 2-game hole. And unfortunately, the regular season taught them that it's perfectly acceptable to do this. It doesn't matter if you squander a 12-run lead in Oakland because you can always beat the Tigers in a tie-breaker. The Yankees in the playoffs are better than the Tigers in the regular season. I still have faith in the Metrodome to keep things interesting, but realistically Friday was the chance. Then again, in a series with Blackburn pitching well in the Bronx, Punto getting clutch hits, and Guerrier mowing down Yankees does conventional wisdom really apply?