It’s a very exciting day for baseball fans no matter which team you root for because there’s nothing quite like a “win or you’re out” scenario like we see starting off with the AL wild card game. The basic thesis behind today’s game between Minnesota and New York for the AL Wild Card Game free pick is, “do you have the guts to take the Twins?”
Oddsmakers are making this one all Yankees, listing the Bronx Bombers as -260 moneyline favorites and even -120 on the run line. They’re expecting a low scoring game – as playoff tilts generally are – setting the total at just 7.5. The only question left to answer then is…”who ya got?”
All these “the Twins can’t beat the Yankees in the postseason” articles are making me think there’s a conspiracy to jinx us. #yankees
— Amy Silvers (@A_Silvers) October 3, 2017
How Did the Twins Get Here…Seriously?
Minnesota lost 103 games last year and after dropping 12 of 17 right before the deadline they became ‘sellers’, sending all-star closer Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals and veteran starter Jaime Garcia to these Yankees. As it turns out, that became a rallying cry and the Twins went 20-10 in August and won enough in September to capture the Wild Card by 5.0 games over Kansas City. Things aren’t going to be easy in the AL Wild Card Game free pick for the small market squad. New York has won nine straight playoff games over the Twins and has won the season series 15 straight years. The Yankees went 4-2 against the Twins this season including a sweep in New York 10 days ago by a combined score of 18-6.
I don’t often like to disagree with you, Ken, but tonight ya gotta like the fledgling underdog Twins over the easy-to-hate Yankees.
— David J Rotert (@djrotert) October 3, 2017
Regardless of the odds being against them, Minnesota has decided to still show up and see how it plays out. They ride veteran Ervin Santana into battle, who went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA during the regular season. Santana finished the season strong, throwing two shutouts over his last four starts. One of those starts came against these Yankees on September 18th, where Santana pitched 5-2/3 of 2ER ball – although he did give up a 1st inning HR to Aaron Judge. Santana needs to avoid the long ball in the AL Wildcard Game free pick – he gave up the 10th most in the MLB while the Yankees hit the most.
Girardi Goes With Severino In the AL Wildcard Game Free Pick
Santana is a 13-year veteran making his ninth postseason appearance. His counterpart across the diamond is exactly the opposite as the Yankees turn to 23-year-old Luis Severino in their biggest game of the year. Tonights first pitch will be the first one Severino has ever thrown in the postseason. He does have the pedigree, compiling a 14-6 record with an ERA under 3.00 (including 9-2 his last 11 decisions). Severino comes in hot, allowing only 7 runs in 5 September starts but 3 of those allowed came against Minnesota on September 20th. Of course if Severino does struggle, the Yankees can turn to their formidable bullpen early – featuring David Robertson, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman.
AL Wild Card Game Free Pick
Casual baseball fans want to see the heavy underdog Twins pull it off tonight – TV executives not so much. Surprisingly ‘only’ 65% of the public is on the Yankees, meaning if Minnesota could eek out the win it would me be a nice payoff at +220.
#Yankees biggest favorite in wildcard era based on run differential/win loss. With that said, #Twins will probably win. #crapshoot
— Brad Ebert (@DrGrimesLV) October 3, 2017
It’s possible that the Twins could get to Severino early – the pitcher was actually worse at Yankee Stadium going 8-5 with a 3.71 ERA compared to 6-1, 2.24. The thing is Joe Girardi has postseason experience and he won’t be afraid to pull him early – going to the vaunted bullpen or even starters like Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, or CC Sabathia. The Twins have a competent emergency man in Jose Berrios – but even if they do get the lead do you trust 14-year-veteran Matt Belisle, who had only five career saves prior to this year, to close the door?
As much as it would be cool to see them take the AL Wild Card game free pick, it seems like the Twins are simply too overmatched to get the win tonight. Currently, Mybookie has the best lines for this game. The Yankees have a deeper bench, a better bullpen, emergency backup, and the fact that a series with the Indians next up would bring in huge ratings.
Pick: New York Yankees Runline (-1.5)