ALDS Game 2 Preview: Twins at Yankees
Image courtesy of © Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports and © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsALDS 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
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.
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.
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.
- mikelink45, twinssouth and ToddlerHarmon like this