ALDS Game 3 Preview: Twins vs. Yankees
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY SportsALDS Game 3
New York Yankees (103-59) @ Minnesota Twins (101-61)
Series: 2-0 Yankees
Start Time: 8:40 PM ET / 7:40 PM CT
Forecast: 60 degrees and sunny
Pitching Matchup: RHP Luis Severino vs RHP Jake Odorizzi
Jake Odorizzi posted a sub-2.00 ERA through his first 13 starts for the Twins this season, and he was below 3.00 until the month of July. For the first half of the season Odorizzi established himself as the go-to arm behind Jose Berrios and earned a trip to his first All-Star Game because of it. July was not kind as the former Rays righty posted a 7.43 ERA in five turns and desperately needed to get back on track. Making nine more starts the rest of the way he rebounded with a 3.04 ERA .647 OPS against and 65/16 K/BB. As a fly ball pitcher it always made sense to turn Odorizzi loose in Target Field, but it was actually in New York that Jake fared significantly better than this outfit. His length in a series that has seen Minnesota get just a combined 6.0 IP from starters is a narrative to watch.
Aaron Boone turns to Luis Severino for game three. Had he been healthy in 2019 Severino would’ve likely been the game one choice as a two-time All-Star and Cy Young candidate at age 25. Instead he’s thrown just 12.0 IP this season and he’s yet to be given a leash longer than 80 pitches. Severino is a strikeout pitcher with plenty of velocity, and he’s fanned more than 10 per nine each of the past two seasons. He hasn’t been known to give up the long ball, and command isn’t much of a problem either. Luis does have a 6.26 ERA across 23 postseason IP however, and with the uncertainty of a small runway to get ready for this action, New York may decide to go with a quick hook.
Battle Tested Twins
There’s no denying that Minnesota is up against it and in a far from enviable position. That being said, this group has veterans sprinkled in that can provide levity during this type of scenario. Baldelli has kept things light and loose for his club all season, and nothing suggests bucking that trend now. Minnesota didn’t suffer a three-game losing streak until their 94th game of the season and surrendered to that fate just twice all season. Including a loss in the final game of the regular season the Twins are riding a three-game skid, but history suggests an ability to put the fire out.
All hands will be on deck in an elimination game, and the expectation should be that the usage of Taylor Rogers, Trevor May, and Sergio Romo should be more liberal if the situation presents itself. While pitching has been a downfall, and the management of it, a central focus will be placed on the quality of at-bats and production from the lineup. After breaking records left and right during the regular season, the Twins have been outscored 18-6 in the past 18 innings.
Climbing out of a 2-0 hole is hardly an easy task, and looking at it from a big picture view does nothing to minimize the situation. The Twins need to take their opportunities in small chunks at a time and attempt to win each inning on the path to making this a series before it’s over.