The Twins' magical run to the postseason is over. This time there are no doubts nor any possibility that they have a chance. 2009 is finally, officially fini.
Countless times throughout the season, bloggers, columnists, and Twins fans everywhere exclaimed that the season was over. Seth Stohs said so way back on August 17th. Aaron Gleeman declared them dead on October 1st, along with many others, after their second loss in the Tigers series. There were so many points at which you could have said the Twins' season was done, and yet they proved us wrong. Until now.
Having lost their 3rd game of the American League Division Series to the Yankees, they are categorically eliminated from playoff contention. Carl Pavano made a miraculous attempt to give them another breath, but the Yankees just had too much power and the Twins just had too much Nick Punto. Give him credit for getting the double in the first place, but rounding third by so much was just an inexcusable blunder. You can't place all the blame on him, as the entire Twins offense struggled, but that just about sucked every last bit of life from the Twins.
Overall the series went just as many had predicted a would: a sweep for the Yankees. But the Twins did not make it easy. They took the lead in game 1, but simply didn't have enough, having played 11 innings the day before and throwing Brian Duensing opposite C.C. Sabathia. Game 2 was the one the Twins really let get away, as they again were up 2 runs, but this time all the way until the ninth inning. Joe Nathan's struggles against the Yankees continued, though, as he allowed a home run to tie the game, his first with a runner on base all year, before Mark Teixeira won the game in the 11th.
Game 3 was more of the same, as the Twins went up 1-0 on a Joe Mauer RBI single, before the Yankees hit two solo homers to take the lead. They added two more for insurance in the ninth, and the Twins were unable to make up any of the deficit.
So on the year the Twins ended 0-for-10 versus the Yankees. They lost 5 games by one run, and one more on a walk-off home run. Two others were decided by three runs, meaning just two were of the blowout variety. They held a lead in every game at Yankee Stadium, but lost all six of them by a combined 11 runs.
The sweep means they still haven't won a postseason game since 2004 (they were swept by the Athletics in 2006), and haven't won a postseason series since 2002 (lost 4 in a row, 3 to the Yankees). Obviously there are much more painful streaks alive (see Pirates, Pittsburgh), but it's still frustrating.
I was glad to see the crowd at the Metrodome cheering right up to the final out by Brendan Harris as the stadium's storied history came to a close. The Twins had a great showing this year, particularly down the stretch in September, and I was yet again proud to be a Twins fan. Thank you, Minnesota, for making that true.