Posted on October 4, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
In a rematch of the 2017 Wild Card Game, the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins will meet in this year’s ALDS. Both teams were division winners this year and boast lineups with a lot of big bats. Let’s take a close look at how these two teams stack up against one another.
Offense – Advantage Yankees
The Yankees scored the most runs in baseball this year, and they did so while seeing their lineup decimated by one injury after another. At the moment, the Yankees are more or less as healthy as they’ve been all year. There is some uncertainty with Edwin Encarnacion and Gary Sanchez, but the heavy hitters like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, and Gio Urshela are all healthy and look ready to go.
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Of course, the Twins were second in the majors in runs scored and first in homers, so their lineup would probably beat out just about any other in baseball outside of the Yankees. Minnesota had eight players with over 20 home runs this season. The ageless Nelson Cruz led the way all season, but youngsters like Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, and Max Kepler are all dangerous hitters as well. Much like the Yankees, there are no easy outs in Minnesota’s lineup and every hitter is a threat to go deep.
Rotation – Advantage Yankees
The return of Luis Severino makes all the difference in the world for the Yankees. He looked dominant in his three starts at the end of the regular season after spending most of the year on the Injured List. James Paxton also highlights New York’s postseason rotation after winning 15 games and posting a 3.82 ERA in 2019. On the back end, JA Happ and Masahiro Tanaka didn’t have standout seasons, but both have plenty of playoff experience. Tanaka, in fact, owns a 1.50 ERA in five postseason starts.
In fairness, Minnesota’s rotation isn’t far behind. Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi both had sub-4.00 ERAs this season. However, with Michael Pineda being suspended, the Twins lost their no. 3 starter. They’ll have to get by with Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez, who are lacking the kind of playoff experience the Yankees have in their projected Games 3 and 4 starters.
Bullpen – Advantage Yankees
This is another area in which the Yankees have the slightest of edges. Obviously, it helps to have Aroldis Chapman, a closer who has proven himself in the postseason. But Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino also had brilliant seasons setting up for Chapman. The likes of Tommy Kahnle and Chad Green give the Yankees the kind of bullpen depth that few teams can match.
The Twins, meanwhile, had one of the more underrated bullpens in baseball this year. Taylor Rogers saved 30 games this year, so Minnesota should feel comfortable with him pitching late in games. Trevor May and Tyler Duffey both had impressive seasons while Sergio Romo is another trusted late-inning pitcher who brings some much-needed postseason experience to Minnesota’s bullpen. However, this group doesn’t quite measure up to what the Yankees have in their bullpen.
Prediction – Yankees in 4
The Twins figure to have at least one good offensive performance in this series to avoid getting swept. But they are too reliant on their power to have sustained success against the Yankees, especially the New York bullpen. If Berrios or Odorizzi has a brilliant performace and the Twins can steal a game in New York, they might be able to push it to five games, but this series will ultimately belong to the Yankees. New York wins in four.