Twins vs. Yankees Pick – Game 2 Analysis
Minnesota Twins (101-62) vs. New York Yankees (104-59)
When: 5:05 p.m., Saturday, October 5
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York
Moneyline: MIN +163/NYY -173 (5Dimes)
Runline: Twins -1.5/Yankees -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Randy Dobnak (2-1, 1.59 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
It’s been a long, long time since the Twins have won a playoff game. To put it into perspective, when the Twins last won a playoff game of any kind, the Metrodome was still standing, Target Field was six years away, and George W. Bush was a month away from winning his second term as president the last time Minnesota came out ahead in a postseason game. A large part of that is because of their constant matchups against the Yankees, who have beaten the Twins in 11 consecutive playoff games dating back to their divisional series in 2004, which saw Minnesota win the opening game and never again. The Twins have now lost 14 straight playoff games in all, an MLB record.
To try to end the skid and finally break the Yankees’ hold on them, the Twins turn to Randy Dobnack, a hard-throwing 24-year-old. Dobnak has pitched pretty well for the Twins since he returned to the rotation in Au-gust, but he’s going to need to be downright perfect for Minnesota to have a chance here because the diffi-culty level ramps up for Dobnak now — there simply aren’t any White Sox, Tigers or Royals in the postseason.
Struggle Down the Stretch
Masahiro Tanaka has had his ups and downs, and September would undoubtedly be classified as part of the down category. During the season’s final month, he only had one start out of five that could truly be called quality, which came when he held the Angels to a single run over seven innings of work. But other than that, he’s managed to lose to the Rangers twice and took a no-decision in a Yankees loss to the Blue Jays, a rather disastrous outcome given that Toronto has been one of two pushovers in the AL East all season.
It didn’t affect anything because the Yankees had sewn up the AL East a while back, but now we’re at the point where every game truly matters. There isn’t any concern that Tanaka will crack under the pressure be-cause he’s been here before and pitched fantastically under the spotlight that comes with being a Yankees pitcher in the playoffs, but there is concern about whether he’s hitting a wall this season. He hasn’t thrown this many innings in a season since 2016, the last time that he didn’t pitch in the playoffs. Will he be ready to go, or is he out of bullets?
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The Twins have lost 14 straight playoff games, but in the regular season, they were reasonably competitive against the Yankees, going 2-4 overall against New York. But as the Twins well know by this point, being com-petitive against the Yankees and beating them are two very different things. The Twins’ streak of futility against the Yankees is even longer than their time without a postseason victory: Minnesota hasn’t won the season series against New York since 2001. To put that in perspective, the last time it happened, the Twins’ oldest player, Nelson Cruz, had just turned 21 — and Dobnak, Saturday’s starter, had just started first grade.
- The Twins are 4-18 in their past 22 ALDS games.
- The Yankees are 8-2 in their past ten playoff home games.
- The Twins are 0-7 in their past seven playoff road games.
- The Yankees are 12-3 in Tanaka’s last 15 starts on grass.
- The over is 20-5-1 in the Yankees’ past 26 against the AL Central.
- The over is 4-1 in the Twins’ past five against teams above .500.
Mild fall weather is in the forecast for the Bronx, with the high barely getting into the 60s.
With a trend like this, it’s always wise to believe in it until it gives you proof that it’s no longer viable. Not only do the Yankees have a strong history against the Twins, and the Twins have a long account of playoff failures, but the Yankees are just a better team than Minnesota. They’re an outstanding home team that has every piece of the puzzle needed to win another World Series, and the Twins, even with a gaudy record, really haven’t impressed me all that much this season. Remember, the Twins’ record is partially inflated by playing 57 games against the not-even-pretending-to-try Tigers, White Sox, and Royals.
Meanwhile, the Yankees got pressed by both Tampa Bay and Boston and came out stronger for the experi-ence. They’ve been here before many times, and the Twins just don’t feel capable of challenging them. I’d go with the Yankees here.
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