Thursday, 19 October, 2017

American League Wild Card game preview: Minnesota Twins vs New York Yankees

Jordan Montgomery had a breakout season this year Jordan Montgomery had a breakout season this year
Elias Hubbard | 04 October, 2017, 00:31

The largest improvement though was on the mound as a re-bolstered rotation led by Ervin Santana went from allowing 5.49 runs per game to 4.86. Santana (3.28 ERA, 1.126 WHIP, 211.1 IP), though, also had an outstanding year, and he strikes me as having the ideal makeup to pitch well in a game like this.

NY counters with Luis Severino, who is 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA.

The Yankees received an MVP-type season from rookie right fielder Aaron Judge, breaking the major league mark for home runs by a first-year player with 52 while driving in 114 and scoring 128 runs.

The Twins finished the season with an 85-77 record, and are the first team in baseball history to reach the postseason one season after losing 100 games. NY had been setting themselves up to compete for a championship in either 2018 or 2019, while Minnesota was the only team to win fewer than 60 games in 2016.

The victor advances to the AL Division Series against the Cleveland Indians.

Twins: Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28) will start for the Twins against the Yankees on Tuesday.

The Yankees finished comfortably ahead of the Twins for home-field advantage. ESPN 1500 noted last week that the depth of the Yankees bullpen means Girardi could potentially pull Severino after three innings and rely on his relievers the rest of the way, to save his starting pitcher for the Indians. The veteran beat NY as a rookie to knock them out of the playoffs in 2005. Only Brett Gardner, Greg Bird, Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley played for the Yankees in their last wild-card appearance, a 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros in 2015.

When the Yankees last won a playoff game, Aaron Judge was a few months away from starting his junior season at Fresno State, Gary Sanchez just completed his third minor league season and Luis Severino had 14 starts under his belt in the Dominican Summer League. Many factors played a part of the Twins making it to keep playing baseball in October.

"Absolutely", Boone said. "I can see it". Like I said, the Yankees should win the game, but with the line being so thick I think the Twins have more than a fair shot at paying off here.

Twins manager Paul Molitor, a member of the 3,000-hit club, said he suggested that the Minnesota hitters do more guessing at the plate than usual to combat the right-hander's arsenal.

"Somebody asked me earlier, 'Does it feel like seven years?'" Mauer said. It was a veteran who led the team in home runs, though, as 30-year-old Brian Dozier hit 34.

But there's a reason that the Twins have +205 betting odds and the Yankees are -240 favorites, via OddsShark. After acquiring Garcia from Atlanta to boost the rotation, the front office flipped him to the Yankees days later — and sent All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler to Washington — right before the July 31 trade deadline in response to a rough road trip and a simultaneous surge by division rivals Cleveland and Kansas City. This being the best teams won a lot and the not-good teams lost a lot. For him to turn in the type of great performance he's capable of, he's probably going to have to avoid giving up the long ball.

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