Minnesota Twins (101-61, won AL Central) vs. New York Yankees (103-59, won AL East)
Game 1- Friday, October 4th @ 7:07 PM ET in New York, MLB Network
Game 2- Saturday, October 5th @ 5:07 PM ET in New York, FS1
Game 3- Monday, October 7th, Time TBD, in Minnesota, MLB Network
Game 4 (if necessary)- Tuesday, October 8th, Time TBD, in Minnesota, FS1
Game 5 (if necessary)- Thursday, October 10th, Time TBD, in New York, FS1
The 2019 Twins might have been the quietest 101 win team ever. Minnesota seemingly flew completely under the radar, even after leading the league in home runs with a whooping 307 long balls.
They will send starter Jose Berrios to the mound in Game 1. The 25-year-old Berrios might be one of the most underrated players in baseball. He is a very steady pitcher that racks up a good amount of strikeouts and limits walks. Berrios finished 2019 with a 14-8 record and a 3.68 ERA over 200 1/3 innings. His strikeout to walk ratio was 195/51. He has three innings of postseason experience which came in 2017, where he allowed three earned runs on five hits, including a home run.
The Twins’ offense certainly has some thunder. Five players finished with over 30 home runs, and they finished with a .494 slugging percentage, good for second in baseball. Nelson Cruz is the biggest threat in the lineup and also has plenty of postseason experience. Cruz finished 2019 with a .311 average to go along with 41 home runs and a 1.031 OPS. For his career in the postseason, Cruz has a .292 average with 18 HRs and a 1.016 across 154 at bats.
Player to watch- Segio Romo
The long time San Francisco Giants reliever now finds himself in Minnesota where he finished with a 3.43 ERA across 65 appearances. Romo has a career 3.09 ERA in the postseason and has an ERA of 2.25 over his last 15 appearances.
Despite missing Didi Gregorious, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton for large chunks of the season, the Yankees were still able to punish the opposition to the tune of 103 wins and 306 home runs. These two offenses are very evenly matched. In fact, the Yanks are second to only the Twins in home runs by just one.
D.J. LeMahieu was a major component of the glue that held this team together through the injuries of its stars. The second baseman finished fourth in baseball in batting average (.327) and had a career high in both home runs (26) and RBIs (102.) His 26 homers are almost double his previous high of 15. Ditto for his RBIs, going from a previous high of 66 to 102.
The Yankees’ potent offense was able to carry a middle of the road pitching staff that also saw its fair share of injuries. Staff ace Luis Severino made only five starts in September after missing most of the previous five months rehabbing a lat strain and rotator cuff inflammation. Offseason acquisition James Paxton also missed a few weeks with knee inflammation, but the big Canadian was able to turn in a solid season where he went 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA. Paxton will be the Game 1 starter.
Player to watch- Gary Sanchez
Despite hitting 34 home runs, Sanchez still struggled with strikeouts, finishing with a career high 125 punchouts, opposed to just 40 walks. His career postseason numbers are poor (.197 AVG, .684 OPS). With their biggest bats still relatively fresh off of injury, will Sanchez be able to step up or will he continue to whiff at an alarming rate?