With the Boston Red Sox clinching the American League East on Saturday afternoon, the American League Wild Card Game matchup is now set. The New York Yankees will host the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx on Tuesday, Oct. 3 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN, WatchESPN).
The Yankees clinched a postseason berth on Sept. 23, their first trip to the playoffs since 2015. The Twins are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2010, and after losing 103 games in 2016 are the first team in MLB history to make the playoffs one year after losing 100 or more games.
Luis Severino, who posted a 2.98 ERA with 230 strikeouts in 193⅓ innings this season, will likely start for the Yankees in the Wild Card Game.
“It’s been an unbelievable season,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Peter Botte of the New York Daily News. “The young man has pitched really, really well and he’s a big reason why we’re here at this point.”
Ervin Santana, who was 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA in his 33 starts in 2017, will start for Minnesota. The right-hander pitched five scoreless innings on Thursday against the Cleveland Indians.
"It was a nice tuneup performance from him," Twins manager Paul Molitor told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. "Hopefully it gets him ready for Tuesday."
Home field advantage gives the Yankees an eddge, especially since they are 50-29 at Yankee Stadium this season. New York won four of six games against Minnesota in 2017, including a three-game sweep from Sept. 18-20.
The Yankees have won 11 straight season series to the Twins dating back to 2007, going 55-23 (.705) during that span. New York has also eliminated Minnesota in four of the Twins’ last five postseason appearances, dispatching them in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2009, and 2010.
Time, TV channel, and streaming info
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Location: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, New York
- TV: ESPN
- Streaming: WatchESPN
ESPN will televise the AL Wild Card Game, with their usual ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ crew of play-by-play man Dan Shulman, analysts Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza, and reporter Buster Olney on the call.
Twins vs. Yankees news & notes
The Yankees playoff rotation of Severino, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka stacks up well with the other American League pitching staffs, wrote Brett Borzelli at Pinstripe Alley:
If the Yankees fail to overtake the Red Sox in the AL East, then Severino will face Santana in the Wild Card Game. If the Bombers win, then Gray will face Kluber or Keuchel in Game One of the ALDS, while Sabathia or Tanaka will face the likes of Verlander and Carrasco in Game Two. It won't matter; these aren’t mismatches. The Yankees' top four starters have proven that they can face off against anyone in the league and give the team more than a chance to win. That's as good as it gets for a playoff rotation.
Miguel Sano was activated from the disabled list on Friday after missing 38 games with a stress fracture in his left shin. The slugging third baseman, who hit .267/.356/.514 with 24 home runs in 2017, might be available for Tuesday’s Wild Card Game, though perhaps not to start. Per Bollinger of MLB.com:
With Sano still not able to run, he'll likely be relegated to pinch-hitting duty in the final weekend of the regular season and in the Wild Card Game. He might also take part in a simulated game at Target Field.
Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey was asked in Cleveland if he could see Sano being available much like in the way that led to Kirk Gibson's memorable pinch-hit walk-off homer for the Dodgers in the 1988 World Series.
"Can I take that outcome?" Falvey joked. "At this point we haven't ruled anything out."
Myjah at Twinkie Town explained how the Twins went from 103 losses to a playoff team:
In 2017, the Twins defense is a much different story. I’m basically going to name my first born child Byron Buxton at this point, regardless of gender. With his incredible speed, Buxton has made himself the premier defensively center fielder in all of baseball. Hell—probably the premier defender at any position. If you don’t think defense can ever be that important in baseball, just watch Byron Buxton. Just for one inning. It will change you.
TJ Gorsenger at Twinkie Town explained why the second Wild Card is good business for baseball:
I checked out of baseball before the Vikings showed up in Mankato last year. It seemed hopeless. If you’re a fan of the Giants, or the White Sox, or the Phillies, it probably hasn’t been a fun season. Seeing what the Twins have done provides a glimpse of what their team could do. Is it likely? No, that’s why the Twins are so notable. But it proves it can be done. It gives you a reason to watch your team next year.