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(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)
You gotta love the Twins. You really do. Every time the Yankees need a good series they always seem to be available to get stomped on. Year after year after year after year; postseason series after postseason series after postseason series. They're the most reliable opponent in recent Yankee history and this week's rendition of that reliability came at the absolute perfect time. The Yanks were nosediving into the bottom of the AL East, with their starting pitching showing cracks to match the already shattered offense. After 4 days in the Twin Cities, the Yanks have found their bats, found their bearings, got Robinson Cano completely locked in after a few good games to end June, and swept the Twins out of their own park as they head back home for an important 10-game stretch before the All Star break. Heck, Minnesota was even nice enough yesterday to confirm once and for all that Joba Chamberlain should not be used in any situation other than an absolute blowout. And they did it without affecting the outcome of the game.
As for that 10-game stretch, it starts tonight back at The Stadium against the Baltimore Oriole team that wiped the field with the Bombers just 1 week ago at their place. It was the first time in 8 years the Yanks had gotten swept by the Orioles in any series at any stadium, and it'd be nice to return the favor this weekend as the O's come into town smarting a bit after losing 2 of 3 to the lowly White Sox. I'd settle for a series victory, especially looking at the 7 games against the floundering Royals and the Twins again coming up next week. There's a big opportunity to gain some ground back in the races in this next 10 days - the Yanks are currently 5 out in the AL East and 1 loss out of the second WC spot behind Baltimore - and a 7-3 or 8-2 run would go a long way in buying them some more time to contend.
At the beginning of this week the Yankee season looked like it was on life support. But as they always seem to do, the Twins came around at the right time and helped breathe some life back into the Yankees' lungs. New York has a chance to gain ground in this next 10 days, starting tonight against the very team they're chasing in the Wild Card race. if they're serious about contending for the postseason this year, and serious about adding players before the trade deadline who can actually help (along with their own players returning from injury), then the Yankees need to keep this 4-game Minnesota run going. When the Twinkies roll into town a week from today, it'd be nice to put a bookend sweep on the other side of this one.