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Do the Twins have anything LEFT?
October 8, 2009 - Per Peterson
No amount of grit, heart and hustle was enough to overcome Sabathia vs. Duensing in the Twins' ALDS opener against the real muscle of the American League, the Yankees, Wednesday night. And, unless Twins' righthanded pitchers can find a way to put up some kind of a speed bump against the N.Y. express, the Twins season will come to an end all too quickly. No one, really, I mean no one, expects the Twins to win this best-of-five series, but they actually do have a shot, as long as their righties are effective against this lineup. Derek Jeter is batting almost .400 against lefties this season. Jeter vs. Duensing is great white vs. minnow. It's not even fair. In the end, Duensing was sushi. Duensing, a rookie, didn't embarrass himself Wednesday night, but he also didn't make it out of the fifth inning. Then, another lefty, Francisco Liriano, came in and served up a two-run bash to the first batter he faced, a drooling Hideki Matsui, as the Twins fell back by four. Matsui hit 13 home runs off left-handers this year — tied for the most in the majors. A few years ago the Twins had the best lefty in baseball in Johan Santana. He won two playoff games at Yankee Stadium (2003, '04). The lefties the Twins are running out there now not only aren't Santana, they're lucky they are even pitching at this level, on this stage. The silver lining is that Wednesday was a good experience for Duensing, something he can build off of and learn from. Then, somewhere down the road — maybe next season — we'll see him handle things differently. Maybe what happened Wednesday will make him a better pitcher. Maybe by then he'll have figured out a way to get Jeter out.
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