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  1. “As one extra note, it is important to remember that although the odds of the Yankees dominating at this level are tremendously low, the odds of any one team dominating any one other team like this over one stretch are much higher simply due to the large amount of 75 game head-to-head samples.

    “Using this data, we can reject the hypothesis that the Twins are actually a .444 team against the Yankees – as we would expect given the log5 method – with 99.9841 certainty, well over the typical 95% level of statistical significance.”

    Wrong. You cannot hunt through vast numbers of head-to-head matchups, pick one that sticks out like a sore thumb, and then apply a statistical test to reject the null hypothesis. There are 91 head-to-head matchups in the American league and 120 in the National; you basically need to multiply your p-value by something like 221.

    The proper way to apply statistics is to form a hypothesis based on one set of data, then test it with fresh data. Cherry-picking yields zero statistical insight.

    Comment by lex logan — February 14, 2011 @ 10:18 am

  2. There is something to be said about momentum of the teams, and how the Twins as of late have the stigma of losing to the Yanks, and have less momentum going into said games, especially the playoffs. And after losing that first game it just spiraled until they were swept. I don’t know how the quantitative gods feel about momentum, but I refuse to believe such a thing does not exist, even in baseball.

    Comment by Kyle — February 14, 2011 @ 10:23 am

  3. Last year the Yankees were well-suited to stopping the Twins because they had two excellent lefty starters in the playoffs and the Twins had a big platoon split. That was probably equally true in 2009.

    Comment by Luke in MN — February 14, 2011 @ 10:25 am

  4. Go Away Kyle

    Comment by ARF — February 14, 2011 @ 10:29 am

  5. It might be because maybe Gardenhire, in general (not just against the Yanks) puts in pinch hitters, pinch runners, relievers, etc. at the wrong time in terms of leverage. And the Yankees might just be good hitters, pitchers and defenders in high leverage situations, whether or not that is ture, I would have to look deeper into the stats but it could be a posibillity. You would also need to see if there is also one other team that does well against the Twins and who also might be good high leverage situations. Just a guess.

    Comment by Mike Moritz — February 14, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  6. My statistics is sort of amateurish, but 1-.999841 is your p-value I think and multiplied by 221 you get .035, which would still give you 96.5% confidence. Can I do that?

    Comment by Luke in MN — February 14, 2011 @ 10:34 am

  7. There is momentum every time the ball is moving.

    Comment by Shane — February 14, 2011 @ 10:34 am

  8. Most of the playoff games are pitched by the top three starters plus top couple of guys out of the bullpen. About 40% of regular season games are pitched by staters 4 and 5. Likewise, playoff lineup is all tops guys; regular season they get some rest. Any way to factor in these issues?

    Comment by GDN — February 14, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  9. The reason for your findings is the effect of being in two different divisions. If the Yankees were in the AL Central for that time period, it’s likely their win % would be much higher, and much lower for the Twins if they played in the AL Central.

    Thus, because of their respective divisions, the Twins winning % is overstated and the Yankees’ understated. What this means is what many of us Jays fans always have known; that the AL East has been the most competitive division in the AL in past decade.

    Comment by Marcus — February 14, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  10. god forbid the yankees simply have their number, so to speak

    but no, fangraphs’ favored team must have some statistical cop-out that makes them look better than they are

    Comment by fredsbank — February 14, 2011 @ 10:43 am

  11. if the yankees were in the AL central, we might be seeing 1998 every year, is what you’re getting at?

    Comment by fredsbank — February 14, 2011 @ 10:45 am

  12. Apologies for the self-promotion, but I tackled the same question at my blog:

    For those not interested in giving me page views, I hypothesized that the Twins’ collection of soft-tossing strike throwers matched up poorly with the Yankees’ home run hitting teams. To test this, I checked the Twins record against all teams that averaged at least 1 home run per game during any of the last 5 seasons. Then, I also checked their record against teams that finished in the Top 6 (top 20%) of home run hitting teams per season.

    In the regular season, the Twins have had a winning percentage of .547, while it’s only .466 against the Top 6 “power” teams. This doesn’t fully explain why the Twins play so poorly against the Yankees, but it shows that they don’t play well against home run hitting teams, period. Of course, that may be true of all/most teams anyway…

    Comment by Bryz — February 14, 2011 @ 10:45 am

  13. Having watched all but maybe 2 or 3 of these 75 of these games, the reason for the Yankees dominance over the Twins seems very clear to me and cannot be explained using some algorithm or statistics. This is a psychological issue with the Twins, especially Gardenhire. He and the team are well aware of this dominance and have come to fear, maybe subconsciously, any player who wears the NY cap. Players’ nerves have to factor into their play. I believe Ron Gardenhire is a different manager when the Twins play the Yankees and makes the players uncomfortable; rather than playing loose, the team is trying to be perfect.

    Comment by RCG — February 14, 2011 @ 10:46 am

  14. In a short playoff series, with scheduled off-days, teams don’t need all their starting pitchers. The Twins may be padding their cumulative winning percentage not only with cheap wins against weak division teams in their unbalanced schedule, but also with the performance of players who won’t participate in a playoff series against NYY.

    Comment by Benjamin — February 14, 2011 @ 10:52 am

  15. I have never looked at the stats, but it’s always been my theory that the Twins beat up on bad pitchers and bad hitting teams, but don’t fare well against other very good to great teams. It’s easy for Slowey to get out the AAAA hitters in KC and CLE (and even DET / CHi in other years), it’s hard for him to get out real hitters. I’d probably explore their record against 1-3 pitchers vs 4-6 pitchers.

    It doesn’t help when umpires can’t tell if a ball is fair or foul…and I do think there is some psychological effect now that is contributing.

    Comment by mike wants wins — February 14, 2011 @ 10:54 am

  16. Starting at a significance level of 0.05 (95%), an applying a conservative bonferroni multiple testing correction, your new critical value if 0.05/221 – 0.00023. The p-value from the Yankees/Twins is .000159, so you are still rejecting the null hypothesis. I would interested if any of the other matchups over the same time period are as far off the expected distribution…

    As to why the Twins can’t beat the Yankees, one common theme I’ve read is that the Twins pitching staff technique of not walking anyone just doesn’t work against a stacked lineup, which makes an intuitive kind of sense to me (can’t get them to chase borderline, and then they feast on average stuff in the zone). But I’m curious if the bad record is due to bad offense or bad pitching or bad defense. At this extreme, it must be all three to some degree, but does one stand out?

    Comment by test — February 14, 2011 @ 11:00 am

  17. Is there something about Ron Gardenhire’s tactics against the Yankees which puts his teams at a disadvantage?,?blockquote>

    Yeah, they get out to a lead, and then they stop scoring and the pitching staff gives up the lead. It always helps managing when your stud closer does not throw an 0-2 cockshot to one of the best home run hitters in history.

    Simply put, when you make mistakes against a very highly talented team, you pay. The talent difference between MIN and NYY is great. Put the NYY in the ALC and see what their record would be.

    People here talk about the Twins as if they are some sort of powerhouse. Annually they are basically even or slightly ahead of the White Sox and Tigers, two teams this site despises. This year MIN is slightly behind those two teams. Yes, they are.

    They’re the Twins. It’s rare that I get to quote Dennis Green, “But they are who we thought they were.”

    At this point, when they have a lead and NYY start making a comeback, I can believe that MIN starts to think “Uh-Oh, I’ve seen this movie before.” I know I do. At this point, it’s like Padres in the NL, you just want someone else to win the division so 1 playoff game can get won in the opening series.

    In the regular season when a team faces another in a series, their #4 may pair up with the other teams #1 and vice-versa. Not so in the playoffs, especially first round, where a team’s #1 matches up to #1. The Twins don’t have any advantage in those series.

    Talent usually wins, and I don;t think the Twins are as talented as some others at this site.

    Twins do not have great starting pitching. NYY generally has great offense. NYY is a horrible matchup for MIN. MIN is used to having adequate pitching (comparatively) and really good offense. NYY have more of both (or usually do).

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 14, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  18. One factor, especially recently, is the Twins left-handed heavy lineup going against the Yankees left-handed pitching in Sabathia and Pettite.

    Comment by Louie — February 14, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  19. I hypothesized that the Twins’ collection of soft-tossing strike throwers matched up poorly with the Yankees’ home run hitting teams.

    That’s what I would have guessed.

    Liriano doesn’t do very well against NYY either.

    NYY generally has outstanding hitters, who will take walks. If you put extra guys on base (walks) and expect to get more batted balls for outs than usual (pitchers are not strikeout pitchers) then a team like the NYY is going to have your number.

    And well, comparatively The Twins are simply not anywhere near as good as the Yankees. The Twins, as I said in another thread, are basically the same talent level as the Tigers and White Sox.

    Some of it has to be “bad luck”, some of it has to be psychological … but the vast majority of it is difference in talent level, namely pitching. This is where I’d like to see “Opponent OPS” type stuff for pitching stats. Each MIN starter could possibly get 7 stars/season against the Royals and Indians.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 14, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  20. When looking at a disparity like this I would look at lineup handedness and the opposing pitching staff. As an example a lineup dominated by lefty power will perform well over 162 games but will be particularly vulnerable to a pitching staff with quality left handed pitching.

    Comment by Jason — February 14, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  21. The last 2 years specifically the Yankees have had a huge match-up advantage. They have a very deep and talented fly ball roster and the Twins have fly ball pitchers that throw strikes.

    The Twins are also incredibly Left Handed dependant and going against quality LH starters like CC and Pettitte have killed them (especially in 3 game playoff series). The Twins still desparately need another RH option to plug into the lineup against a quality LHP.

    These 2 items are enough to expect a significant underperformance of the ‘expected’ outcome, but not enough to justify the full domination of the Yankees.

    I think the other compoents are psychological to some degree but you also cannot dismiss the economics. The Yankees are just far too deep given their vast payroll and can mix and match their lineup and bullpen to suit their needs and this works especially well against a very predictable team like the Twins who never have any depth to speak of off the bench and almost always run out the same type of soft tossing control pitcher.

    Comment by Chuck — February 14, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  22. Everyone wants to bring up the Yankee lineup against the Twins staff. I think first and foremost you need to look at it the other way. The Twins simply have not hit Yankee pitching.

    10 Playoffs – 7 runs in 3 games
    2010 season – 16 runs in 7 games
    09 Playoffs – 6 runs in 3 games
    2009 season – 25 runs in 7 games (6 of 7 losses coming by 2 runs or less, 5 one run losses)
    2008 season – 21 runs in 7 games
    2007 season – 21 runs in 7 games
    2006 season – 22 runs in 7 games
    2005 season – 28 runs in 7 games (included only 2 games where the Twins had 7 or more runs against the Yankees in a 9 year run)
    2004 Playoffs – 17 runs in 4 games (2 Extra Innings losses – Twins had leads in both games)

    I just went back the past 52 games. Two things are evident, the Twins do not hit Yankee pitching and the Yankees have had an uncanny ability to score runs against the Twins bullpen. You can use the excuse of soft-throwing starters all you want, but the Twins over the past decade have fielded a very, very strong bullpen, usually among the best in baseball. The Yankees time after time have gotten to the pen in the 8th, 9th and in extra innings.

    It all leads back to the 2004 ALDS, Twins took the first game at Yankee stadium. A 5-5 game went to extra innings. Torii Hunter hits a 12th inning solo HR and the Twins are 3 outs from going home with a 2-0 advantage. Gardy sends Nathan out for his 3rd inning of work. (the first and only time in the past 10 years he has gone out for a 3rd inning) He strikes out Olerud, walks Cairo AND Jeter and instead of going to the young fireball throwing righty Jesse Crain, Gardy sticks with an obviously over-labored closer who on his 54TH pitch, gives up a game tying ground rule double to Arod. An intentional walk and sac fly later, all the momentum is gone, Yankees salvage a split, go win the next two in Minnesota (which included a game clincher where the Yankees scored 4 off the Twins pen in the 8th off of Rincon and Nathan)

    From the moment Game 2 ended, the Twins have been tormented. They have found beyond numerous ways to lose games. Fielding mistakes, baserunning errors, bullpen blowups, bad calls (Mauer’s “foul” ball in 2009) and now it’s just a mind game.

    For a Twins fan, it really has been pure hell.

    Comment by Josh — February 14, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  23. For the most part, I’m right there with you on this. However, the skill of the Yankees to draw walks isn’t very significant when playing a team as good as the Twins at NOT handing out walks. They put everything in the strike zone, which I think works to the Yankees benefit. More pitches in the zone means more opportunities to hit the ball hard, which is something the Yankees do very well. Perhaps the Yankees take advantage of the Twins pound-the-strike-zone philosophy and get more line drives and deep fly balls. Line drives = higher BABIP and more doubles; hard hit fly balls = more home runs. Those would be especially damaging considering the ineptitude of the Twins outfield defense. I didn’t look up any numbers to back this up; it’s just a thought.

    Comment by Josh — February 14, 2011 @ 11:44 am

  24. Nice data snooping.

    Comment by Garrett — February 14, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  25. Check out my numbers v ARod and then know that Gardenhire brought me in to face him with the bases loaded last year. One guess how that turned out

    Comment by Matt GerRare — February 14, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

  26. I should have added that the sample size was the 2006-2010 seasons.

    Comment by Bryz — February 14, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

  27. It’s Gur-ear.

    Comment by Bryz — February 14, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  28. Right, so Jim Thome, Orlando Hudson, Jon Rauch, Carl Pavano, Brian Fuentes, et. al started fearing the Yankees once they joined the Twins.

    This is one of the most-used and worst arguments fans use. Go interview some players and the manager, THEN claim that they’re scared of the Bombers.

    Comment by Bryz — February 14, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

  29. Last 2 playoffs
    C Mauer >> Posada
    1B Cuddyer<<< Tex
    2B Hudson/Punto/Casilla <<<<<<< Cano
    3B Punto/Valencia/Harris<<<<<<<< A Rod
    SS Cabrera/Hardy <<<<<<<< Jeter
    LF Young < Gardner/Thames/Melky
    CF Span< Granderson/Melky
    RF Kubel < Swisher

    SP Liriano< Sabathia
    SP Pavano < Pettitte
    SP Baker/Duensing/Blackburn< Hughes/Burnett
    RP Nathan/Capps/Crain < Rivera/Hughes/Wood

    Talent wins, especially in a short series where the Twins deeper roster is negated

    Comment by Simple — February 14, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

  30. This is another one of those Fangraphs’ articles that drives me insane. I know many are going to interpret what I write as a shot across the bow at SABR, and will therefore just tune-out whatever I say, and give my post a -26 rating.

    However, sometimes, you just have to watch the games.

    The Yankees’ dominance of the Twins is not hard to explain at all. The Yankees have better players than the Twins mostly because the Yankees can afford to pay the good players they develop, and buy good players that other teams can’t afford to keep.

    For the Twins, it has basically been one or two of their star players trying to overcome an opposing roster that is simply deeper and more powerful than their own. As great as guys like Santana, Hunter, Morneau, and Mauer have been, they can’t counterbalance A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira, Cano, Posada, Granderson, Swisher, Sabathia, Pettitte, and Rivera.

    Starting around 2002, the Twins began losing some very tough games to the Yankees. The Yankees then beat the Twins in both the ’03 and ’04 ALDS. Since then, the Yankees have held an obvious psychological advantage over the Twins. I understand that there’s not a statistic for this, but it’s plainly obvious.

    The Yankees are this battle-tested squad of highly-paid mercenaries. They’ve established their dominance over the Twins, beating them every possible way you could beat them. The Yankees are more talented than the Twins, and more importantly, THEY KNOW THEY CAN BEAT THE TWINS.

    The Twins aren’t as talented as the Yankees. They’ve done nothing but lose to the Yankees for a decade now. The Yankees know they can win; the Twins don’t know if they can win, and appear to be playing as if they’re just waiting for a ball to take a bad hop, or an ump to miss a call.

    Then, there are the closers. The Yankees have Mariano Rivera. The Twins have had Eddie Guardado, Joe Nathan, and Matt Capps. Who, do you suppose, wins that battle?

    This really isn’t that complicated, people.

    Comment by waynetolleson — February 14, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  31. Isn’t it the same reason why “Billy Beane’s shit doesn’t work in the playoffs?”

    Lack of star talent. Nice deep, consistent, team that wins a lot of regular season games, but just gets out-talented in a short series.

    Like I said in another post, the Twins can’t be awesome AND The Tigers and White Sox stink, because they’re basically the same quality of team … regardless of front office tendencies. The recent difference would be those two teams made it to the WS in 05 and 06.

    Unfortunately I am allowing some of the commentary on the Twins to ruin my appreciation of them and alter my perspective on their team. They’re a good, consistent team. But, to even talk about them as being anywhere near the level of the Yankees is ridiculous. They’re closer to being the Brewers than they are the Yankees.

    WT is right, it really ain’t that complicated.

    I also wonder if it is possible that the Twins see the NYY top starters more often.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 14, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  32. It doesn’t sound like he’s looking for a cop-out. In fact, the conclusion of this post is precisely that the Twins *don’t* have a statistical cop-out, that NY’s apparent domination of the Twins isn’t just an artifact of the numbers, and that there is something going on beyond quirky samples or something.

    The reasons listed at the end of the post–do NY’s strategies just work very well against Minn., do the Twins’ strategies just work very badly against NY, etc.–basically amount to, “So the Yankees clearly have Minn.’s number. But which number?”

    Comment by Rex Manning Day — February 14, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  33. I’m willing to consider that as a possible factor – I’m pretty sure there’s multiple factors at work here – but the problem with that is almost none of the players remain constant over the 9 years of the sample. Are the Twins really just signing players with an aversion to playing the Yankees? Is the next market inefficiency players who play well against the Yankees?

    Comment by Jack Moore — February 14, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  34. That explains the last two years, but not the seven prior.

    Comment by Jack Moore — February 14, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  35. But how many players are still around from that 2004 team? That whole psychological thing just doesn’t pass the smell test to me, but I suppose I could be wrong.

    Comment by Jack Moore — February 14, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  36. The depth of the rosters is a good potential test case.

    Comment by Jack Moore — February 14, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  37. I particularly like the idea of checking if they have a disproportionate record against sub-.500 teams.

    Comment by Jack Moore — February 14, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

  38. My “fresh data” was the data from my simulations, which is what I used to reject the hypothesis.

    Comment by Jack Moore — February 14, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

  39. I believe it is true at a subconscious level. The Twins look and feel like a completely different team when they play the Yankees compared to any other team.

    Comment by RCG — February 14, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

  40. Um, how relevant are wins in year one to wins in year nine when so many of the players have changed? I see four Twins from the 2004 playoffs still on the team (Cuddyer, Morneau, Kubel, and Nathan). Yankees I see Mo, Jeter, Posada, ARod.

    In general I agree the talent gap is the main cause, but isn’t it possible the reason each season isn’t the same?

    Comment by TwinsFan — February 14, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  41. Yeah, uh, this is not how statistics work. Does the author think that this observation has any predictive power?

    Comment by Ed — February 14, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  42. A small quibble: you should remove the 18-57 & 57-18 records from the team’s overall 9 year performances because you are trying to “predict” their head to head performance. it doesn’t change the results much.

    Comment by newsense — February 14, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

  43. This. Part of the Twin’s strategy as a (former) small market team is to save money by ignoring a number one starter, and instead having five or six number 3’s (talent level of an average mlb-starter). This works great in a long season, but when the Yankees played 15 games in 28 days for the postseason in ’09, that advantage is gone.

    Comment by TFINY — February 14, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  44. While not polite, he is right that you need to do a Bonferroni correction. Simulations are not data, they are simulated data.

    Say you take a person and give them 200 blood tests, then you test if they are all within the 95% confidence interval. Because you gave 200 tests, and, when the person is normal, each test will be rejected 5% of the time, about 10 of the tests will have results outside of the 95% confidence interval. No amount of simulation will change that 10 or so of them will be rejected.

    Doctors know this and do a Bonferroni correction where they widen the acceptable level of each test. This is not the whole story for blood testing, but it is a reasonable real world example.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — February 14, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  45. There is also that 3 pitchers who threw probably about 80% quality starts between them threw 3 non-quality starts. It is both sides.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — February 14, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

  46. I agree with this. If you do use the power calculations you will find that the Twins and Jays are about the same quality teams. Making two teams in the AL East that are at least as good as the Twins for much less money per year.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — February 14, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

  47. Your argument speaks completely past the point. While I don’t agree with the premise of the statistic he is showing, the idea is that if team A is so good and team B is so good, then they the match up should go like so…

    If your story were true (and the assumptions of his statistic were true), then he would have found that the Twins record would match up exactly with the predicted win percentage. End of story.

    As for the theory that, ” Yankees can afford to pay the good players.” Explain to me how the Yankees lost the AL East then? The Rays are a truly amazing team on the field, and they cost less to run than the Twins. Nobody actually goes to Tropicana… but that is another story.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — February 14, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  48. Since 2002, Minnesota has a better overall record than Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Seattle, and Chicago. In that time, every one of those teams has a better record against New York than the Twins do.

    Minnesota’s record in that time (.551) is 150 points higher than Kansas City’s (.409), and yet Kansas City’s record against NY (.300) is 40 points higher than Minnesota’s (.261). Chicago’s overall record (.526) is only 30 points lower than Minnesota’s, but their record against New York is 150 points higher (.412).

    The difference between Minnesota’s actual record and its log5 expected record is also much worse than for these teams. Minnesota performs 186 points worse than expected, while Cleveland, the second worst underperformer, only does 47 points worse. Chicago, the only team other than the Twins in the bunch with an overall record above .500, only does 10 points worse against the Yankees, or basically exactly what’s expected.

    Now, obviously none of these teams do particularly well against the Yankees. But neither are any of them as abysmal against NY as Minnesota is. The fact that you have to go down to the worst teams in the league to even get close to the Twins is saying something. Clearly Minnesota has not been a significantly less talented team than Baltimore or Kansas City over the past decade. And the Twins have a .510 record against Boston in the last 9 years, so they’re also not just a bad team skating by in a bad division that then crumples against the Beasts from the East. And yet they do terribly against NY, performing even worse than the worst teams in the league.

    So, yeah, I think it might be a bit more complicated than “they don’t know if they can win”.

    Comment by Rex Manning Day — February 14, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

  49. I think it has nothing to do with the players or some stupid mindgames. Yes the AL east is the best division but this doesn’t explain it either since then the yankees would need to have a similar record against all non al east teams.

    It has more to do with the philosophy of the twins organization. Primarily pitch to contact and building a team based on depth not top tier talent.

    Comment by adohaj — February 14, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  50. but if it were primarily that, their record would be closer to the statistically predicted one, but the disparity is so large that something MUST be causing it that’s not listed on the player pages other than ‘organization’

    Comment by fredsbank — February 14, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

  51. Some Points:

    The bonferroni correction is certainly necessary with this data — even for your simulation runs. The p-value is still significant but I would love to see 95% CI for the Twins-Yankees matchups as well as the other team matchups at the extreme tail end of the distribution.

    Also, you do have remove the 18-57 or 57-18 from the Twins and Yankees respectively. You cannot use the data from a validation set in your prediction set. It would be interesting to see if this alone would negate the effect after bonferroni adjustment.

    The adjustment for an unbalanced schedule would be nice. The Yankees record is most likely an underestimate of their true talent level because of the strength of the AL East over the last decade. I believe third order wins (or another metric) possibly takes this into account but am I not sure.

    I would also advocate for running a simulation (if you did not do so) in which playing time is adjusted for the playoffs. Four man rotation instead of five man for example as another poster brought up.

    Lastly I believe the Yankees held home field advantage in the majority of these series. Did it play out — even with all the sweeps — that the Yankees had more home games? That could factor into the analysis.

    Comment by matt — February 14, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

  52. But this isn’t just the playoffs.. the playoffs is probably a small portion of those 75 games (especially as the series are usually over so quickly). The Yankees have dominated in the regular season as well.

    Comment by joe — February 14, 2011 @ 4:25 pm

  53. The manager and general philosophy is the same though. The past two years when the playoffs have rolled around the media over blasts the struggles the Twins have had/Success the Yanks have had against them.

    Did you see the NY Times front page this year? It read something along the lines of “Who’s next” “First Round Bye” something along those lines. It’s there and everyone knows it.

    If you haven’t watched the majority of the games you wouldn’t understand. The Twins are built on sound pitching, not walking batters, smart base running and good defense. Many of the games against the Yankees everyone is absent, they are simply a different team when they face them.

    Comment by Josh — February 14, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

  54. Not this…. this isn’t a record in the playoffs… the majority of that record is from regular season (where they tend to play 3 or 4 games in a row).

    If the Twins strategy works great in the regular season, why don’t they fare better in the reg season against the Yankees?

    Comment by joe — February 14, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

  55. You should look at fly ball % of Twins pitchers. Typically a lot of them are fly ball heavy, and the yankees tend to crush those flies into homers. Do the Yanks have more homers against the twins than other teams (by percentage)? Also, how does that W-L record breakup given home field / away? The Yankees have that right field porch that might increase their dinger % against Twins pitchers.

    Comment by Paul in MN — February 14, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  56. That was very insightful. thanks.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — February 14, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

  57. Even if it has an effect the new porch in yankees stadium would only account for a few of the games.

    Comment by adohaj — February 14, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

  58. Starting the sample size for this study dating to 2002 seems inappropriate to understanding the Twins of today. That the Twins of 2003 were outscored 49-13 across seven games vs. the Yankees has no bearing on the Twins of 2011. Both ballclubs are now of largely different makeups as compared to ’03.

    Randomness need recognition too. The best head-to-head yearly matchup vs. the Yankees for ‘Sota was ’05. Hardly their best squad.

    All in all, the Yankees have been the better team for most the decade. There may have been a confluence of factors that made the matchup unfavorable for the Twins. But, given the change in the aggregate of the ballclub, past results have far less predictive value than they do for actual individuals.

    Comment by OB — February 14, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

  59. The Yankees continue to sign premier talent, while the Twins continue to lose key players like Johan Santana and Torii Hunter. If you look at almost any year in the past decade, the Yankees have much more talent around the diamond than do the Twins.

    Players might change, but by this point in time, if you play for the Minnesota Twins, you know that bad things tend to happen when the Twins play the Yankees. Even if the Twins jump-out to an early lead, it has to be in the back of the minds of at least some of players that the Twins have lost something like 18 of their last 21 against the Yankees, many of them in brutal “lose-from-ahead” fashion.

    Finally, I suspect that Yankees’ batters might be cryptonite for the Twins’ pitching staff. The Twins always seem to have lots of strike-throwing, pitch-to-contact guys. These pitchers might be able to expand the strike zone against the Mariners or Royals, but guys like A-Rod, Giambi, Jeter, Teixeira, Posada, Swisher, etc… are going to lay-off those borderline pitches.

    Since the Yankees have power from the top of their lineup to the bottom, so the pitch-to-contact pitchers who might get beaten for singles and doubles against lesser hitters are beaten more often for doubles and HR’s against the power-hitting Yankee attack.

    These are likely among the reasons for the Twins’ struggles against the Yankees.

    Comment by waynetolleson — February 15, 2011 @ 12:32 am

  60. “Explain to me how the Yankees lost the AL East then?”

    The Rays were an expansion team that more or less averaged 100 losses for the first ten years of their existence. By virtue of their decade-long ineptitude, the Rays were able to stockpile some terrific young talent, and that talent finally blossomed in 2008.

    Because all of their good young players were under club control, the Rays’ had a window where they had prime talent at well-below market cost. However, as we saw with Carl Crawford this year, smaller market teams often can’t afford to keep their star players once they’re eligible for free agency.

    If you want to follow the Rays’ model, you have to be willing to be one of the five worst teams in all of baseball for a decade solid. Most fans won’t stand for that.

    Comment by waynetolleson — February 15, 2011 @ 12:55 am

  61. I thought the Rays or the M’s were fangraphs’ most favored team! Or maybe anyone who opposes the Phillies! Who knew?!!!!

    Comment by chuckb — February 15, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

  62. Saying “Duh, the Yankees are more talented than the Twins” is incredibly facile. Of course they are. That would explain the Twins winning 4 out of 9, not 18 out of 75. I’d be willing to be that the Royals and O’s have won more than 18 out of their last 75 against the Yankees. Surely you’re not going to tell us that they are more talented than the Twins also, are you?

    Comment by chuckb — February 15, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

  63. Yeah, uh, he’s trying to draw conclusions about the past, not trying to make predictions about the future. Maybe you missed that part.

    Comment by chuckb — February 15, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  64. If this were true, then wouldn’t the Yankees have an even higher winning percentage against the other teams in the division? Since I don’t believe this is the case, i don’t see how you can just chalk it up simply to the Yankees being a more dominant team from a more dominant division.

    Comment by David K — February 15, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  65. well I’m sure it would look something like this
    Doug M. <<<< Giambi
    Radke <<<<< Clemens
    Koskie <<<< ARod
    Guzman <<<<<< Jeter
    AJ P <<<<< Posada
    Tyner Buchanon Kielty, assorted scrubs <<<<<<<<<<<<< any Yankee

    These last two Twins teams have the most talent that the Twins have had since their last World Series except for maybe 2006 when they lost to the A's but even then they were without Liriano for the playoffs

    Comment by Simple — February 15, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  66. The fact of the matter is why would u keep same manager if u can’t beat the team u have to beat in order to win the championship?

    Comment by Mike — August 14, 2012 @ 12:48 am

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