The New York Yankees have traditionally dominated the Minnesota Twins in the postseason and hope to continue that trend when the teams meet Tuesday night in the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium. New York defeated Minnesota in the AL Division Series in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010, claiming 12 of 14 contests in that span.
This encounter will be the first taste of October for the Yankees’ “Baby Bombers,” putting MVP candidate Aaron Judge - who led the AL in homers (52) and walks (127) - on a big stage in the Bronx that has played host to many legends. “This is what it’s all about,” Judge told reporters Monday. “This is where a lot of those numbers that are hanging out there in left field (Monument Park), this is where they made a name for themselves, in the postseason.” The Twins authored one of the great turnarounds in baseball history by going from 59 victories in 2016 to 85 this year, but must overcome the pressure of past postseason failures, having lost 12 straight playoff games and 19 of their last 21 dating to the 2002 ALCS. Ervin Santana, who is 0-5 with a 6.43 ERA in six career starts at Yankee Stadium, gets the start for Minnesota opposite New York ace Luis Severino.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98)
Santana tied Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, the AL Cy Young Award favorite, for most shutouts (three) and complete games (five) in the AL in an All-Star campaign in which he posted the second-lowest ERA of his 13-year-career. The 34-year-old finished the regular season with three straight road starts, including a tough loss at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 18 in which he allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. Judge went deep in that one against Santana, who owns a 5.66 ERA in 20 career starts versus New York — his highest mark against an AL team.
Severino finished his breakout regular season by going 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in five September starts, during which he allowed 15 hits and struck out 38 in 30 dominant innings. The one outlier in that stretch was a three-inning, three-run outing against Minnesota on Sept. 20, when the 23-year-old was pulled following a 46-pitch third inning. That was the only career meeting with the Twins for Severino, who was 8-5 with a 3.71 ERA at home this year.
1. The winner plays Game 1 of the ALDS at Cleveland on Thursday night.
2. The Yankees have also won 11 straight season series over the Twins, posting a 55-23 head-to-head record in that span.
3. Twins DH Joe Mauer, one of the few Minnesota players with playoff experience, is 8-for-24 with a double and an RBI in six postseason games against New York.
PREDICTION: Yankees 5, Twins 4