From Joe at RAB:
While the Twins make a great baseball story, we’re still focused on what this will mean for the Yankees. Would they prefer Detroit or Minnesota? The question might sound like a no-brainer at first. The Twins are without their slugging first baseman and have generally been the inferior team during the season. But they’re the hot team, and hot teams can be hell on any team in the playoffs, even the team with the best record in baseball.
Joe goes on to make the case that the Yankees should be rooting for the Twins, who are probably slightly better in the bullpen and with the bat than the Tigers, but lack even one very good starter. The Twins are the kind of team that the Yankees should shred- mediocre pitching and just decent offense does not matchup well with the Yankees. Conversely, the Tigers are similarly flawed but have the great equalizer: a starting pitcher in Justin Verlander who can win two games on his own.
However, the most important element of all this is not that the Twins beat the Tigers, but rather that they keep things close until the final day of the season. Doing so would force the Tigers to start Verlander in that final game, meaning that he would be forced to pitch Game 2 of the ALDS rather than Game 1. To have Verlander miss the opening game of the series should give the Yankees a strong advantage in that contest, and would allow them to face Verlander with one win already in hand. Furthermore, this race may result in Verlander being overworked, as he was noticeably tired last night in throwing 129 pitches. Another outing like that may leave him gassed for the ALDS. So, no matter who you would prefer that the Yankees play, let’s root, root, root for the Twins.