1. The Twins can beat the Yankees. I repeat, the Twins can beat the Yankees- Never mind that playoff losing streak or the Twins’ record against the Yankees (now 38-111 since 2002). After the resounding victory in Game 2, my main conclusion: was it this hard? The Twins not only beat the AL-leading Yankees on Wednesday night (a feat that was built in the minds of Twins fans to be a near impossible task), they beat them. Thursday’s series finale was also expected to be the best Twins game in years: The Twins started with back-to-back homers against Gerrit Cole and the Yankees of all teams.
Even though the Yankees eventually passed the Twins on Thursday due to bullpen woes, there’s plenty in this series to make Twins fans feel good about: The Twins tagged Yankees star Nestor Cortes and Cole for the highest ER totals of the season. Chris Archer looked solid for a second straight start. Jose Miranda had his first 3-hit game of his young career. Byron Buxton is now undoubtedly back from his 0-30 slump. The Bomba Squad returned Thursday with 5 homers, all against Cole. In short, although they left with only one victory, the Twins came to play this series, especially offensively, where traditionally against the Yankees, the hit disappeared. That’s especially impressive considering how incredibly exhausted the Twins’ starting rotation was (certainly pitching Cole Sands, Archer and Dylan Bundy against Cortes and Cole wasn’t in the Twins’ master plan).
I’m not trying to claim moral victories, but with the size of a Goliath the Yankees are built to be by the Twins, maybe we need it. The Yankees are the best team in the American League, and the Twins have proven this series that they can play well with them. This team can and has beaten the Yankees and could do so in the upcoming playoffs if the teams’ paths cross, especially with Joe Ryan back in the starting rotation and the addition of a few more arms.
2. Twins fans aren’t sure what they think of Josh Donaldson- Since Josh Donaldson was traded to the Yankees, bits have emerged which seem to suggest Donaldson could have a negative influence on the clubhouse. A “cancer”, if you will. However, Donaldson was traded to the Yankees, he didn’t leave, and he says he does not regret his time with Minnesota (although he also didn’t mind being traded to New York). That means there’s no hard feelings from Twins fans, right? Crucially, the now-beardless Donaldson’s homecoming left Twins fans unsure of exactly how to react: His bats were greeted with muted boos, but the taunts were quiet and even a little apathetic . Although Donaldson’s legacy with the Twins is the subject of debate and he gained national attention with his spat with Tim Anderson of the White Sox recently, he has yet to become a figure. described here,
3. Stadium attendance increases- Finally, after months of mostly empty stands, Twins fans have returned to the stadium in droves this series. The good weather, school going out for the summer and the hated Yankees being in town certainly helped. The show’s best entry was seen on Tuesday night, Prince Night, which featured a giveaway t-shirt and a special ticket package with a Prince jacket. However, a large portion of the fans in the stands for all three games wore Aaron Judge stripes and jerseys. Where all those Yankees fans are coming from, I don’t know either, but at times when Joey Gallo or Giancarlo Stanton hit a home run, it was almost as if Target Field had been transported to the Bronx.
It should be noted that the Twins are making other upcoming deals, including a “Vote early, vote often” campaign for All Star Voting, which offers fans inexpensive tickets to vote. Notably, any fan who votes at least 100 times before 1 p.m. CT on Thursday, June 30 will be able to purchase up to eight $1 tickets to a Twins game.
So the Twins come out of this series with a mixed bag of results. Until we meet again, Yankees, but even if it’s in the playoffs, I think the Twins will be in good shape.