This is a question better left for Elias Sports Bureau and its fancy computer programmers. The answer would require days of skimming through BaseballReference.com and may drive a man (or woman) crazy. But riddle me this:
Has any team in baseball history been swept in a head-to-head season series three times in the same decade during seasons when it WON its division?
Think about it. Theoretically, these are 85, 90, 95, 100-win teams. Impossible, right? Right?
Wrong. The Yankees swept the AL-Central champ Twins in 2002, 2003 and, of course, in 2009. Minnesota even won 94 games in 2002 and found itself swept that year by the Yanks. It seems remarkable to imagine a 94-win team unable to pick off one lousy victory. So twice more in the next seven years, too?
The Yankee dominance has been stark and not just a figment of some old baseball man’s imagination (like the “scrappy, base-to-base” 2009 Angels, whose 883 runs are the second-most in baseball). Including the consecutive 3-1 losses in the 2003-04 Division Series, the Twins are just 52-100 vs. the Yanks in the regular season and playoffs since Minnesota’s stopped beating them repeatedly in 1992. From ’93 on, the Twins won their season series against the Bombers once, in 2001, but failed to do so in the eight seasons before or the eight since.
As you may’ve heard in the post of Twins audio, talk focused on the lopsidedness. Jason Kubel and Denard Span seemed to downplay it, but you can’t blame 52-100 on being one or two “clutch” hits away. It’s real.