Originally created 09/30/03

A capsule look at the Twins-Yankees playoff series

A look at the best-of-five American League division series between the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees:

Schedule: (All times Eastern) Game 1, Tuesday, at New York (1:06 p.m., ESPN); Game 2, Thursday, at New York (8:18 p.m., FOX); Game 3, Saturday, at Minnesota (TBA); x-Game 4, Sunday, at Minnesota (TBA); x-Game 5, Monday, at New York (TBA).

x-if necessary.

Season Series: New York won 7-0.

Projected Lineups Twins: LF Shannon Stewart (.307, 13 HRs, 73 RBIs, 44 doubles with Toronto and Minnesota), 2B Luis Rivas (.259, 8, 43, 17 steals), 1B Doug Mientkiewicz (.300, 11, 65), DH Matthew LeCroy (.287, 17, 64), RF Jacque Jones (.304, 16, 69), CF Torii Hunter (.250, 26, 102), 3B Corey Koskie (.292, 14, 69), C A.J. Pierzynski (.312, 11, 74), SS Cristian Guzman (.268, 3, 53, 14 triples).

Yankees: 2B Alfonso Soriano (.290, 38, 91, 114 runs, 35 steals, 130 Ks), 1B Nick Johnson (.284, 14, 47, 70 BBs in 96 games), SS Derek Jeter (.324, 10, 52), DH Jason Giambi (.250, 41, 107, 129 BBs, 140 Ks), C Jorge Posada (.281, 30, 101), CF Bernie Williams (.263, 15, 64), LF Hideki Matsui (.287, 16, 106, 42 doubles), 3B Aaron Boone (.254, 6, 31, 8 steals in 54 games with Yankees; .273, 18, 65, 15 steals in 403 at-bats with Cincinnati), RF Juan Rivera (.266, 7, 26, 14 doubles in 173 at-bats).

Projected Rotations Twins: LH Johan Santana (12-3, 3.07 ERA, 169 Ks in 158 1-3 IP), RH Brad Radke (14-10, 4.49), RH Kyle Lohse (14-11, 4.61).

Yankees: RH Mike Mussina (17-8, 3.40, 195 Ks in 214 2-3 IP), LH Andy Pettitte (21-8, 4.02), RH Roger Clemens (17-9, 3.91, 190 Ks), LH David Wells (15-7, 4.14, 20 BBs in 213 IP).

Relievers Twins: LH Eddie Guardado (3-5, 2.89, 41/45 saves), RH LaTroy Hawkins (9-3, 1.86, 2), LH J.C. Romero (2-0, 5.00), RH Juan Rincon (5-6, 3.68), LH Eric Milton (1-0, 2.65 in 3 starts), LH Kenny Rogers (13-8, 4.57 in 33 games, 31 starts).

Yankees: RH Mariano Rivera (5-2, 1.66, 40/46 saves), RH Jeff Nelson (4-2, 3.74, 8, in 70 games with Seattle and New York), LH Felix Heredia (0-1, 1.20 in 12 games with Yankees; 5-2, 3.00, 1, in 57 games with Cincinnati), RH Jose Contreras (7-2, 3.30 in 18 games, 9 starts), LH Gabe White (2-1, 4.38 in 12 games with Yankees; 3-0, 3.93 in 34 games with Cincinnati), LH Chris Hammond (3-2, 2.86, 1), RH Antonio Osuna (2-5, 3.73).


On paper, it's a mismatch. The big-budget Yankees have won 13 straight games against small-market Minnesota since their last loss on May 10, 2001. New York outscored the Twins 49-13 this season, although all the games were in April. ... Mussina, still looking for his first World Series ring, is an astonishing 20-2 in 24 career starts against the Twins. Clemens is 23-12, including 11-5 at the Metrodome. Wells is 18-6 against Minnesota, and Pettitte is 7-5. ... Joe Torre hasn't committed to Wells for Game 4, even though he's 8-2 lifetime in the postseason. Wells has struggled at times this season with a creaky back. But he pitched the biggest game of the year for New York, beating Boston 3-1 on Sept. 7 when the Yankees were only 1 1/2 games up. ... Guzman, a former Yankees prospect, went 1-for-18 (.056) against New York this year. Rivas was 2-for-20 (.100), Koskie was 2-for-19 (.105), Hunter was 4-for-23 (.174) and Mientkiewicz was 4-for-22 (.182). ... Lohse was 0-2 with a 7.15 ERA in two starts against the Yankees. Radke allowed three homers and seven earned runs in five innings vs. New York. ... Minnesota's rotation rebounded remarkably in the second half - Santana, Radke and Lohse combined to go 25-5. But the starters must avoid the longball. Radke and Lohse combined to serve up 60 homers in 66 starts, and the Yankees hit 230 HRs - second-most in franchise history behind the Mickey Mantle-Roger Maris team that hit 240 in 1961.

Big Picture Twins: Minnesota (90-72) won its second AL Central title in two years under manager Ron Gardenhire. The Twins upset Oakland in five games in the first round last year, then lost to Anaheim in five games in the AL championship series. ... After dropping to 44-49 at the All-Star break by losing 22 of 28, the Twins won 45 of their first 65 in the second half. They beat the White Sox five straight times down the stretch to take control of a tight division race, rallying from a 7 1/2 -game deficit at the break. ... Santana, one of the game's best young starters, began the season in the bullpen, but moved into the rotation at midseason to replace a struggling Joe Mays. The Twins didn't hesitate to use the 24-year-old lefty as their Game 1 starter at Yankee Stadium because of his calm, confident demeanor and outstanding stuff. Santana was 8-0 in his last 12 starts. ... Hawkins and Guardado have excelled at the back of the bullpen down the stretch. Guardado was 21-for-23 in save situations in the second half. Hawkins gave up one run in his last 26 innings. ... Stewart, acquired in an All-Star break trade with Toronto, gave the lineup a big lift with his patient presence at the plate.

Yankees: The pressure is on. The Yankees (101-61) held off Boston to win their sixth straight AL East title, but they know that's not enough. With a $180 million payroll and All-Stars up and down the roster, owner George Steinbrenner has made it clear that three straight years without a World Series title would be unacceptable. After last season's stunning loss to Anaheim in the division series, another first-round flop could cost Torre his job. ... The Yankees are about as healthy as they could hope for after fighting through several key injuries during the season. Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Williams, Johnson, Contreras, White and Osuna all spent considerable time on the disabled list. Torre has often tinkered with the lineup, and he figures to shift guys around in October, too. Johnson ended the season in an 0-for-16 slump. There are several options in right field, including left-handed hitters Karim Garcia and David Dellucci, and perhaps switch-hitter Ruben Sierra. Juan Rivera has been on a tear in the No. 9 spot and will get the first shot against Santana. ... With four 15-game winners who have excelled in previous postseasons, the rotation appears to be in great shape. But Clemens is 41, Wells is 40 and the entire staff was roughed up by Anaheim last October. The pitchers have something to prove.

Watch For

- Last ride for the Rocket. Clemens' final season has been filled with memorable moments, including his 300th win, 4,000th strikeout and 46th career shutout. Still a fierce competitor, he would love to go out on top.

- Metrodome Magic. The Twins are 13-3 all-time in postseason games at the Metrodome, where opponents seem baffled by the baseball-colored roof and bouncy artificial turf. The Homer Hankies will be out and the fans will be loud when the Yankees come to bat Saturday. The Twins went 26-10 at home in the second half, winning their last 13 games - a team record.

- Gotta get to Mo. New York's setup men have struggled all season, making Mariano Rivera's job as closer that much harder. If he has to get more than three outs, he might be vulnerable. Torre had trouble trusting anyone in the bullpen other than Rivera until Heredia, White and Nelson were acquired during the season. The manager also likes Contreras' versatility in a relief role.

- Start with a bang. Soriano set a major league record with 13 leadoff homers, and he's the offensive sparkplug for New York. When he slumps at the top of the lineup, the Yankees aren't the same.


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