Posted on October 7, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
For the first time since 2010, the Minnesota Twins will host a playoff game on Monday. Of course, they will do so with their backs against the wall after losing the first two games of the ALDS to the New York Yankees. The Twins, oddly enough, lost both of their 2010 home playoff games to the Bronx Bombers. They are now hoping for a different result on Monday night.
One At a Time
Minnesota’s lineup has only managed to score six runs over the first two games of the series, and worse, they’ve done so one at a time. They’ve yet to score multiple runs in an inning and all three home runs they hit in Game 1 were solo shots. The Yankees, on the other hand, have been able to score in bunches, highlighted by seven runs in the 3rd inning of Game 2. The result is New York tripling Minnesota in runs 18-6 over two games. If the Twins want to turn things around and stay alive in the series, they need to get more base runners and score runs in bunches because their pitching staff hasn’t been good enough to keep the Yankees contained for nine innings.
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The Twins have the challenge of facing ace Luis Severino in Game 3. Severino only made three starts for the Yankees this year after returning from injury, but he looked sharp in limited action. The silver lining for the Twins is that Severino has had plenty of ups and downs during the postseason. That includes getting knocked out of the 1st inning of the 2017 Wild Card Game against Minnesota after giving up three runs on a pair of home runs. However, that was Severino’s first playoff start and he has gained plenty of postseason experience since then.
Meanwhile, Minnesota will counter Severino with Jake Odorizzi, who will be making his playoff debut. In 30 starts this year, Odorizzi went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA. He closed out the season in good form, although he was knocked around by the Yankees when he faced them in July, giving up nine runs on 10 hits over four innings. Oddly enough, Odorizzi tossed six shutout innings against the Bronx Bombers in early May, although that was a watered-down lineup missing some of the key hitters that could give him trouble on Monday night.
In addition to Odorizzi, the Twins will need rookie Luis Arraez to be the biggest X-factor in Game 3. Severino has a good history against most of Minnesota’s hitters, even in limited experience. However, New York’s ace is yet to face Arraez, who is 3 for 7 over the first two games of the series. Obviously, the Twins need their other hitters to wake up, but it’s also vital that Arraez continues to be a catalyst for the Minnesota lineup.
This feels like it could be the end of the line for the Twins. Their reliance on power was bound to catch up with them in the playoffs, and they aren’t likely to find a Plan B. Severino will make it difficult for them to string hits together and score runs. Barring a brilliant outing from Odorizzi, the Yankees are likely to earn the sweep. New York wins 7-2.
Note: This prediction is the opinion of the author and not necessarily the prediction of Jon Price or Sports Information Traders.