Since 2002, the Twins are 31-78 vs. the Yankees during the regular season. That’s a .284 winning percentage, which is 100 points lower than their percentage in that time period against any other team.
And from 2002-2010 the Yankees and Twins met four times in division-series matchups. The Yankees won all four of those and the Twins won only two of the 14 games played.
This year’s Twins, who surprised almost everyone by making this game after losing 99 games last year, went 2-4 against the Yankees, which is actually an improvement.
They’re here as big underdogs to the powerful Yankees, who scored 858 runs, second in the A.L. to the Astros. The Twins scored a lot of runs, too: 815, just seven fewer than the Cubs. But Yankees pitching was better, allowing 660 runs, 128 fewer than Minnesota’s 788.
Nevertheless, we have a fairly even pitching matchup for this game.
Ervin Santana vs. Luis Severino
Ervin Santana had the best year of his career at age 34, posting 4.7 bWAR and leading the major leagues in complete games (five) and shutouts (three). His only start against the Yankees this year was just a couple of weeks ago, September 18 in Yankee Stadium. He allowed two runs in 5⅔ innings, one of which was a home run by Aaron Judge. No shame in that, this year.
Luis Severino, who is just 23, quietly became one of the best pitchers in the American League this year. He posted 5.4 bWAR and struck out 230 in 193⅓ innings, with an excellent walk rate of 2.4 per nine innings. His only start against the Twins this year was a “tune-up” start after the Yankees had clinched a postseason berth, September 20 at Yankee Stadium. He threw 71 pitches in three innings and allowed three runs, but that probably doesn’t tell us much.
The Yankees are a prohibitive favorite in this game, for many reasons. And I personally don’t think I’ve watched a Twins game all the way through this entire season. But with Santana on the mound, the Twins do have a chance.
MLB.com Gameday (classic mode) (Note: Going forward, I am going to link to the “classic” Gameday here because MLB.com broke the links I used to use to get to their “new” Gameday. If you click on this link, you can then click on “New Gameday” at the bottom of the page to get to the updated version. Note that the “classic” Gameday won’t load until just before game time.)
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This will be the only thread for tonight’s game. Enjoy, and discuss amongst yourselves.
Who will win the A.L. wild-card game?
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