According to my predictions, as well as USA Today and Sports Illustrated, this Wild Card Game One match-up was on basically nobody’s radar. Vegas had the Minnesota Twins odds 100-1 to make the World Series back in spring training meanwhile Bleacher Report had the New York Yankees suffering for “another year on the outside looking in for a playoff spot.”
Well, that’s why they play the game!
Here we are: The New York Yankees host the Minnesota Twins in the first Wild Card game, winner-takes-all (okay, a chance to play the defending AL Champions, the Cleveland Indians) in the first round of the 2017 MLB Playoffs. So, who do you got?
New York Yankees (91-71) – 2nd in American League East
It would be hard to argue Aaron Judge was not the Most Valuable Player for the Yankees with 52-homeruns, 128-runs scored and a WAR of 8.1 while hitting a respectable .284. If it wasn’t for Jose Altuve, a case could be made for Judge being named American League MVP.
Luis Severino has been the Yankees rock on the other side going 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA collecting 21-quality start. Severino takes the hill for the showdown.
While one may worry about the lack of post season experience between the aforementioned duo, a big ole zero, it might be the bullpen who makes all the difference in the world. Mid-season acquisition, David Robertson has been pretty fantastic, along with Chad Green, combining for 10-wins, 1.43 ERA and striking out opposing batters at an alarming rate. Not to mention you have Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman and Tommy Kahnle.
The Twins look to have a uphill battle to climb.
Minnesota Twins (85-77) – 2nd in American League Central
The Twins are used to being the underdog.
Minnesota’s ace Ervin Santana brings his 16-8 record sporting a 3.28 ERA, 5 complete games and 3 shutouts to his biggest game of the year, yet. Only AL Cy-Young favorite Corey Kluber matched Santana’s shutouts and complete game feats.
All-star third baseman Miguel Sano has been activated for tomorrow’s game, slated for DH as he comes back from a 38-game hiatus, due to a left shin injury, providing some extra power. His return just signifies the all-or-nothing mentality as the playoffs begin.
While the Twins bullpen does not elicit fear, in part to not being as stocked as the Yankees, sophomore Taylor Rogers has quietly put together a solid if not unspectacular season while Matt Belisle has done an admirable job replacing traded closer Brandon Kintzler.
And who goes on to play Cleveland?
— WinColumnSportsCA (@WCSportsCA) October 2, 2017
According to our Twitterverse it’s the Yankees. I give the edge to the Yankees and their bullpen. But don’t count out the Twins, everyone else did and look where that got them.