STRENGTHS: Pitching. And pitching. Johan Santana and Game 2 scheduled starter Brad Radke (11-8) are a formidable opening punch. And as a team, the Twins are more confident than when they lost to the Yankees in four games a year ago because they won't have to contend with old nemeses Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. "We had no success against them, and we're facing new pitchers," Manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're not facing those guys and that breeds a little bit more confidence."
WEAKNESSES: They had a chance for home-field advantage in the AL division series but couldn't beat Cleveland in their finale, so they're starting on the road. They ranked only 10th in the AL in runs scored, but had the fourth fewest strikeouts in the league, and ranked third in stolen bases, with 116. They're only 37-35 on grass, but 55-35 on artificial turf.
KEY RESERVES: INF Matthew LeCroy (.269, 9 HR, 39 RBI), DH/PH Jose Offerman (.256, 2 HR, 22 RBI), C Pat Borders (.232, 1 HR, 10 RBI).
TEAM BATTING: .265, 11th in AL.
TEAM ERA: 4.03, first in AL.
KEY TO THE SERIES: Cy Young candidate Santana must win the opener to give the Twins an emotional lift. They won the first game of last year's AL division series at Yankee Stadium, but Gardenhire said a day off between Games 1 and 2 was deflating. "The Yankees got to regroup ... and they are too good of a team to let them regroup," he said. The Twins haven't had much luck against Mike Mussina -- he's 20-3 against them -- but they did torch him for seven earned runs in 10 innings in his two starts against them this season. If they can get to him, it could demoralize the Yankees, whose starting rotation is being held together by Ace bandages and hope.