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ALDS Game 2 Preview: Twins at Yankees

It is safe to say game one did not go the way that many Twins fans would have hoped, but we have to find a way to put that behind us and gear up for game two of the series. It Twins can come away with a win in game two, they will suddenly find themselves in the driver's seat with the series tied and heading back to Minnesota. However, if they lose to the Yankees yet again, they will have dug themselves quite the hole to get out of.
Image courtesy of © Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports and © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
ALDS Game 2
Minnesota Twins (101-61) @ New York Yankees (104-58)
Series: 1-0 Yankees
Start Time: 5:07 PM ET / 4:07 PM CT
Forecast: Mid 50s and clear skies
Pitching Matchup: Randy Dobnak, RHP vs. Masahiro Tanaka, RHP


Attached Image: Lineups1005.png

What an amazing run Randy Dobnak as had up through the Twins minor league system this season. After starting the season at High-A Fort Myers, Dobnak quickly got the call up to AA Pensacola. He then rode the carousel up and down between Pensacola and AAA Rochester, before finally getting the call up to the major leagues in August. At the time of his call up, many probably just thought of Dobnak as yet another one of the Twins minor league relievers who was there to eat innings, and then get sent back down to Rochester. However, once rosters expanded in September, Dobnak finally got a chance at a continued stay with the MLB club, and he took full advantage of it. As a result of his success, it compelled me to make a case for Dobnak to start game two of the ALDS a couple of weeks ago. In nine appearances, including five starts, Dobnak posted a stellar 1.59 ERA with 23 strikeouts and just five walks in 28 1/3 innings.

Yankees Starter

On the mound for the New York Yankees in game two of the ALDS will be thirty-year-old Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka got off to a good start to his 2019 campaign, earning himself a nod in the All-Star Game. However, Tanaka has been abysmal over the second half of the season. Since June 29th, Tanaka has a 5.89 ERA in 16 appearances (15 starts). Over that span, Tanaka has struck out just 6.86 and walked 2.03 batters per nine innings. If the Twins want to get back into this series, they will need to jump all over Tanaka early, and put up a number that can help keep this dreaded Yankee offense at bay.

Twins Vs Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka is already in his sixth season in the Major Leagues, and in that time eight of the 13 hitters on the Twins postseason roster have faced Tanaka before. In the table below, we can see how each of those players have performed against Tanaka in their careers.

Attached Image: Twins vs Tanaka ALDS Game 2 Preview.PNG

From this chart, it looks like the Twins hitters haven’t had a lot of success facing Tanaka. Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron are the only two who have done anything against him. While, Nelson Cruz, Marwin Gonzales and Max Kepler have looked absolutely awful against Tanaka. However, it appears as though Kepler has run into a bit of bad luck, as he has hit the ball really well against Tanaka, though it has resulted in just one hit. Hopefully, Kepler can have a reversal of fortunes in Game 2 of the ALDS.

One of the overlooked talking points of last night’s game was the bullpen usage, specifically among the back end of each team’s bullpen. Among the Twins top four relievers, only Tyler Duffey made an appearance in game one, throwing 25 pitches. However, each of the Yankees top four relievers, Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton and Tommy Kahnle all made an appearance in game one. Given the substantial drop off that pitchers have while pitching on zero days of rest, when compared to how they do when they are well rested, this should give the Twins a big advantage if the game is close down the stretch.

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I was expecting a competitive fun game last night. Disappointing. I am hoping for a much better game today. Countless times the Twins have come back after a rough game this year. 

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
Oct 05 2019 11:10 AM

Thanks for this analysis. It gives me hope. It's not clear to me, though, why Baldelli would employ his lesser relievers when the game was close. I guess he has faith in them all and isn't BS-ing when he says so. He's a rookie manager and it showed, in my opinion. On the other hand, if a pitcher makes the postseason roster, he should be available and should come through. Littell was like a deer in the headlights. That happens to some pitchers in media town. Remember Steve Trout? "Trout's acquisition by the New York Yankees in a mid-season trade proved to be a disastrous trade for the Yankees. Though his last two starts with the Cubs were complete game shutouts, and his ERA was one of the best in the National League, with the Yankees he proved unable to locate the strike zone. He walked 37 batters and threw 9 wild pitches in 46 innings and lasted an average of only four innings a start in his nine starts Yankee starts" The limelight can do that to some people. You make me hopeful that today the team can redeem itself and, like a recent President,  keep hope alive.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

I love that Dobnak is starting, it shows Rocco actually cares about advanced states.Many managers would send Odo out saying he is our second best starter right now, but being a fly ball pitcher in the little league size field that is Yankee stadium means bad news for someone like him.Hopefully Dobnak can throw strikes and keep the ball in the park.  


I posted in game one recap, about usage of bullpen.I am not upset with how it was used in game 1, game 5 yeah bad calls, but this is a 5 game series and if you burn all your top arms in game 1 then you will have to go back up arms game 2, so either way they are coming in.Why not save top arms for game you are leading, hopefully.I am not saying you should give in on game 1, but one way or other all the arms will be used, it just comes down to when.  

Schoop should be in the lineup. I know he hasn't been extremely productive down the stretch, but he has the best numbers against Tanaka with 3 HRs against him and a .290 average. Take Schoop out once Tanaka's day is finished and replace him with Arraez. Some of Rocco's managing decisions so far this series have been questionable. 

I would hope everyone is comfortable and on board for THIS game in Yankee stadium. Itwas the walks that hurt the Twins (as well as Arraez, sadly, in the field on two plays). Strike Zone too small? Pitchers can't adapt? 


You are playing one of the best teams ever. Even if the score was reversed, you stll have to worry about the Yankees coming back.


Play to win. Don't need to save pitchers for tomorrow. There might not be much of a tomorrow if you lose.

I have no illusions, only hopeI will wait and see.

    • dbminn likes this

Unfortunately the pressure is on. Win game 2 or continue to be the laughing stock in the bronx. 


I have no illusions, only hope I will wait and see.

"Hope is an illusion, Twins fan." -- Brian Cashman

    • mikelink45 and Tomj14 like this

Game thread is underway, here.

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