The Yankees finished this season 103-59 winning the AL East for the first time since 2012. They beat out the Red Sox and Rays reaching the top spot by winning over 100 games for the second straight year. Now with their sights set on the Twins, the Yankees hope this is their first step on the way to the World Series.
The Yankees had a great offensive season this year. They broke their previous record from last year but fell one home run shy of the Twins and finished with 306 homers hit this year. Both teams put on a show when it came to hitting the ball out of the park and driving in runs. These were the two best teams at putting up runs for a reason and the postseason won’t change that. You can expect high scoring games and while both teams put up runs, their starting rotations tend to allow a lot of runs which should make this a slugfest.
For the Yankees, they will look to James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino with a lot of bullpen help to get through the postseason. Paxton and Tanaka both finished the season nicely and will give the Yankees some confidence, while Severino just came back at the beginning of September and has only made two starts. The Yankees will be hoping his arm is feeling well and they can get 2018 Severino back.
Their big plan will be to use their four-headed monster bullpen with the likes of Adam Ottivano, Tommy Kahnle, Zach Britton an Alrodis Chapman. These guys have been the backbone for Yankees pitching and expect them to be called on almost every and the Yankees will expect dominance from them. They have been so consistent all year long for Yankees and they will want to ride these guys all the way through the postseason.
The Twins are coming into the postseason hot with one of their better seasons in recent memory. Minnesota went 101-61 winning their division, holding off the Indians. It took one of the Twins’ greatest ever regular seasons. It’s only the second time in franchise history that they won 100+ games. Even though a lot of people are sleeping on them, they will look to play spoilers in the postseason.
The Twins finished first all-time for home runs hit by one team this year with 307 home runs which crushed the record set last year of 267 which was set by the Yankees. If you love offense you will want to follow this series no matter who’s on the mound. The Yankees and Twins both set very high standards this year, shattering the team home run record for a season. Everyone should expect high scoring games throughout this series.
Much like the Yankees, the Twins have real confidence in one guy and that’s Jose Berrios. He’s their ace and he’s going to have to do very well against a great Yankee team in Game 1. The rest of the Twins rotation has been very up and down much like the Yankees.
At points, things looked like it could turn around with the success Michael Pineda and Jake Odorizzi have had. However, both tend to struggle against teams over .500. Win percentage and both have been hit hard this year by the Yankees. If the Twins advance the pitching of Odorizzi and Pineda will be a big part of it.
The Twins will also look at their bullpen to get them some big outs with Tyler Duffey, Trevor Maye, and Taylor Rodgers. Their own three-headed snake has had a very successful year with all of them posting an ERA under 3.00. The Yankees and Twins have many of the same strengths and weaknesses and this match up will be a battle of who can outlast the other
The X factor for this series has to be the bullpen. Starters normally don’t go long into the postseason and there’s no reason to think this series should go any different knowing the hitters each team has. Starters will get knocked out early and both teams will have to use their big arms in these playoff games. The Yankees bullpen is more experienced and probably has the best closer in the game. Aroldis Chapman has been lights out which gives the Yankees the edge for me in this series. There will be a lot of lead changes, a lot of home runs hit and a lot of runs scored. When it comes down to it Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton, Chapman and the Yankees bullpen give them the edge. The Yankees will advance and win the series 3-1 and close it out in Minnesota in classic Yankees Twins fashion, big plays, and even bigger hits.