10/03/10 8:47 PM ET
Yankees have utmost respect for Twins
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
The American League Wild Card winners will travel to Minnesota for Game 1 of the AL Division Series on Wednesday at Target Field. The contest will be televised on TBS and MLB.TV at 8:30 p.m. ET.
The Yankees will place the ball in the capable left hand of ace CC Sabathia, while the Twins look to left-hander Francisco Liriano as the two teams kick off the best-of-five series.
"No matter who you face, in a short series, it can be dangerous," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's the bottom line. Minnesota is a tough club, they've played extremely well this year, they've played as well as anyone in the second half. We've got our work cut out for us."
While the Yankees had to sweat out their playoff opponent until the final game of the season, being handed the Twins as an opponent when the Rays locked up the AL East title, Minnesota has been in command of the AL Central since Sept. 21.
"They have a very good team and they're playing well in their new stadium," Alex Rodriguez said. "It's a stadium we haven't seen very much, with the exception of three games. We're looking forward to playing a good team. They're very well managed with [Ron] Gardenhire and it's going to be a fun series."
Last year, New York swept Minnesota in three games in the ALDS, improving the Yankees' record to 3-0 against the Twins in playoff series, as the teams have met three times in the ALDS (2003, '04 and '09).
"It really doesn't make a difference," Derek Jeter said. "They'll be ready to play. They have a good team. They've been playing well, so I say it every year, it seems like -- previous years mean nothing, and the regular season means nothing. [In 2007], we played Cleveland and they hadn't beaten us all year and they eliminated us."
Another added factor -- in all three of those series against the Twins, the Yankees have held home-field advantage. This year will be the first time that Minnesota has hosted New York in a playoff series, though the Yankees did take two of three from the Twins at Target Field from May 25-27.
"We haven't seen them since May and they're a little bit different of a club, but we've seen them enough to know what they're capable of doing," Girardi said.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.