It’s easy to look at the matchup between the Twins and the Yankees in the American League Division Series and believe the Yankees will win. The Twins have lost 13 consecutive postseason games, including 10 straight to the Yankees. However, a deeper look at both teams reveals it isn’t as one-sided as one might think.
How to Watch:
When: Friday, Oct. 4
Time: 7:07 p.m. EDT
TV Channel: MLB Network
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
New York (103-59) won four of six against the Twins (101-61) this season, taking two of three in a May 3-5 series at Yankee Stadium, before squaring-off in one of the most memorable sets of the year from July 22-24 at Target Field. During that series, 57 runs were scored between the two clubs, including an epic 14-12 game on July 23 that was decided by Aaron Hicks’ game-saving catch in the 10th inning.
While many associate the Yankees with the long ball, it is the Twins who had the advantage in the regular season. Minnesota belted 307 home runs, claiming the all-time record–one ahead of the Yanks’ 306.
The Twins will have to navigate their short-handed rotation of José Berríos and Jake Odorizzi and potentially Randy Dobnak and Kyle Gibson through a possible five-game series against the Yankees. Berríos is this team's ace and has the highest ceiling of any of Minnesota's starting pitchers, especially when he is locating his curveball and mixing in his changeup.
Despite finishing the regular season with four losses in their final five games, the Yankees believe they have everything they need to make it to the next round. One important development is that Edwin Encarnacion will be on the 25-man roster after dealing with a strained left oblique. Infielder Gio Urshela said that he will be ready to play on Friday, having recovered from a mild sprain of his left ankle sustained in the final game of the regular season on Sunday at Texas.
James Paxton gets the start in Game 1 for the Yanks, with Masahiro Tanaka in Game 2 and Luis Severino in Game 3. A noticeable absence from the 25-man roster is CC Sabathia, who’s left shoulder didn't bounce back well from his relief appearance against the Rays on Sept. 24. Paxton, who went 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA and 186 strikeouts this season, will be making his first career postseason start. Tanaka had a 4.45 ERA this season, but has performed well in the playoffs. The right-hander has a 1.50 ERA over 30 innings in five postseason starts for the Yankees. Severino missed almost all of the regular season due to injury, but the hard-throwing right-hander exceeded expectations in three September starts.