The MLB playoffs are finally are here, and the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins will start the proceedings in the Bronx tonight. The AL Wild Card game will take place on two teams that are not evenly matched at all, but either team can win on any given day. The Yankees are much better than the Twins, but every Yankee player and fan is extremely scared about what will transpire tonight. The winner of this game will play the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series starting on Thursday night.
The Yankees have overachieved this season and won the first Wild Card while finishing just short in the AL East race. They have a prolific offense that has been really hot over the past month and they are hoping that it carries into the Postseason.
The Twins have also overachieved this season, making the postseason after losing over a 100 games last season. Experts do not give the Twins much of a chance to win tonight’s game, but the beauty of the Wild Card is that any one pitcher can get hot and dominate.
The pitching match up for tonight’s game is Ervin Santana vs Luis Severino. Santana had a really good season and was the best Twins pitcher against the Yankees. Santana is capable to get hot and dominate a game by shutting down the offense, which is scaring a lot of Yankee fans. Against Santana will be Severino, who had a great season and is among the best pitchers in the American League. Severino gets better as the game gets along, so it would not surprise me if he takes over the game and gives the Yankees seven or more shutout innings.
The Twins offense is led by Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. Buxton had a career year and is quickly becoming one of the best young hitters in baseball. Buxton will need to have a great game on the big stage to get national recognition. Sano is currently hurt and should be coming off the bench as a pinch hitter, but he is capable to completely change the game with one at-bat.
The Yankees have one of the best offenses in baseball led by Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. The two players combined to hit over 85 home runs in the regular season and are key players for tonight’s game. If either of the two players get going, then the game will be over quickly. The Yankees do not just have Judge and Sanchez, they have other players that can also carry the team to a win in Didi, Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks.
The bullpens is where there is the biggest difference between both ball clubs. The Twins do not have a great or deep bullpen and will need Santana to go deep into the game so that they do not have to rely on the relievers to win the game. The Yankees have one of the best bullpens in baseball and are the deepest bullpen in baseball. They have four to five relievers that can get the job done on any given day, while most teams have one or two.
This game is going to be low scoring pitching duel. Santana has been able to quiet the Yankee bats in the past, and will need to do it again. The big moment of the game will be when Santana is taken out by the Twins, because that can be a turning point in the game.
Severino and the bullpen should be able to match zeroes with Santana and hope that the offense eventually breaks through and scores some runs. The relievers will have a really short leash in win or go home game like tonight.
I think the Yankees will eventually pull through and win this game because they are clearly the better team on paper. I am not at all confident in my pick, as this games can go either way and one play can change everything.
Come back here after the game to see my recap of the Wild Card game, and if you need in game updates then follow me on Twitter