AL Wildcard Matchup Preview

There is AT MOST, 33 games left of watching live baseball. In what is an enduring long season, it sure does happen in a flash. I for one, intend to watch every second that is left. A month from now will be wrapped up in offseason news & gossip. My sole form of live baseball will be playing MLB: The Show on PS4.

The postseason officially (or unofficially) ramps up today at 8:09 ET, as the 85 Win Minnesota Twins come to the Bronx to play the Yankees. Not surprisingly the Twins are the underdogs, but they’re not a team to easily dismiss. The Yankees had the 2nd best offense in the AL (858 Runs). Those pesky Twins were 4th best (815 Runs). Brian Dozier being the big bopper. Another tremendous season with 34 HRs and 93 RBIs. They look to advance to ALDS vs Cleveland without their young slugger Miguel Sano, he just returned from DL for the last series. But his shin must be barking that bad, to not even have him as pinch hitter option.

Where the Yankees have the clear cut advantage is on the pitching end. Their team’s ERA of 3.72 ranks 3rd overall (behind Cleveland and Boston). Tonight’s matchup is the Twins ace Ervin Santana opposing Luis Severino. Some might say Santana has been the team’s MVP this yr. He is 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA. With his 211 innings pitched, is 5 complete games. Three of those are shutouts. This has amazingly come with him allowing the 2nd most homeruns he has given¬† up in a season, 31 given up in 33 starts.

The young stud for Severino has really burst onto the scene. Aside from his 10 run nightmare vs the Sox on August 12, he’s been one of the best starters in the AL. Cy Young votes are coming no doubt. In his first full season as a starter, he started 31 games, going 14-6 with a sparkling 2.98 ERA. He logged 193.1 innings, allowing only 50 hits (opp .208 avg). He walked 51 batters while striking out 230. You can work the count against him, but you need to protect the zone.

For the Yankees bullpen, it has settled down after mid season woes of Aroldis Chapman needing a GPS to find the strike zone. In the month of September, he was just flat out dominant. Appearing in 11 games, he collected 6 saves while firing off 12 scoreless innings. He allowed only 3 hits (opp .077 avg), walking 2 batters and striking out 17. Coming around at perfect time for those pinstriped nuisances.

Minnesota’s bullpen is nothing to write home about. They have worst ERA among AL playoff teams at 4.40. The Nationals are literally right behind them at 4.41. Ironically the relievers that leads the team in saves (28) for the Twins is Brandon Kintzler… who is now the closer for the Washington Nationals. The current leader in saves for them is Matt Belisle, 9 saves in 14 opportunities with a 4.03 ERA.

When all is said & done, we will most likely be seeing the Yankees in Cleveland on Thursday for what should be a fun series to watch. Already rumblings from national media about how the 1 game wild card is a problem. When the Pirates were bounced after winning 98 regular season games, crickets… If Yankees get bounced, no surprise if they start firing off articles how it should be a best of 3 series

About Christopher Henderson

Lifelong Red Sox fan. Always believing in the impossible. Geek stat eccentric.
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