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Your Full New York Yankees AL Wild Card Breakdown

Today sucks. Every single analyst is gonna be picking the Yankees to beat the Minnesota Twins tonight. They own the Twins over the last 15 season going 78-31 during the regular season and another 12-2 during the postseason. Literally the definition of having them in their back pocket. They’re a current -250 favorite with one of the best pitchers in baseball on the hill. Everything is seemingly in their favor tonight and that gives me nightmares. It’s baseball folks. Anything can happen on any single pitch. You hear the old saying with the game every year that October isn’t scripted. Just when you think everything is going as planned, that’s when it gets flipped on its head. There’s a lot to get into about what to expect tonight so let’s dive in…

The Lineup

As I’m writing this the lineup has yet to have been announced in classic Yankees fashion. Here is what I’m hoping for…

LF Brett Gardner
RF Aaron Judge
C Gary Sanchez
SS Didi Gregorious
2B Starlin Castro
1B Greg Bird
3B Todd Frazier
CF Aaron Hicks
DH Jacoby Ellsbury

There are a few question marks of what will happen in regards to the lineup. Who will play center field? I think it’s a no brainer you go with Hicks considering he’s an elite defender with a great arm and a solid bat. Ellsbury is an average center fielder at best with a poor arm. I’d rather slot him in at DH and keep his bat in the lineup (something I can’t believe I’m typing). That slides Matt Holliday to the bench which I think is pretty expected. Who plays third base is the other big question. Todd Frazier is leaps and bounds better defensively than Chase Headley is, but Headley probably has the better all around bat. I think you can expect a close game tonight with Santana on the hill, with runs coming at a premium. With that in mind I think you opt for better defense and hope Frazier runs into one at some point.

How Long of a Leash Does Severino Get?

Here is where Joe Girardi will likely drive us insane. How will he manage the bullpen on a night like tonight? With strong options like Kahnle, Chad Green, Warren, Robertson, Betances, and Chapman this has to be his wet dream. Luis Severino is a star, but in this do or die game, getting length out of a starter almost isn’t a reality. Once it gets into the 4th or 5th inning you have to think Girardi will have someone throwing in the pen at the moment a runner gets on. If Severino can give the Yankees five or six innings, it’ll be way more than enough. There are two guys tonight I do not want to see on the mound: Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances. Shreve seemingly gives up runs every time he’s in the game and Dellin has virtually no control at all. If either of those guys enter in a tight ball game, I’m gonna freak the fuck out. The thought of Betances entering a close game in the 8th and walking the lead off guy on four pitches has my insides screaming. I’ve made this point on Twitter that if a lefty has to come in at any point in the playoffs (not Chapman he’s the closer obviously) then I want Jordan Montgomery in the game. Not Chasen Shreve. Not Jaime Garcia. Jordan Montgomery. The rookie finished the year on a high note, with a 1.05 ERA in his final three starts. He also held lefties to a .195 batting average, so he’s my man against lefties in October if you’re asking me.

Working Ervin Santana

Santana is a seasoned veteran who has pitched in the playoffs before, granted, he has not had good numbers in October, giving up 14 runs in 22.1 innings pitched over eight appearances (two starts). A few of the Yankees actually have faired pretty well against the Twins starter in his career: Greg Bird 2-5 (two homers), Jacoby Ellsbury 10-34, Gardner 11-31, Aaron Judge 1-3 (homer). It’ll be very important, however, for the Yankees batters to work the count early and get him out of the game. Getting into the Twins bullpen before the 6th inning would be MASSIVE and allow me to actually exhale for a change.

What Do I Think Will Happen?

I had a nightmare the other night about this game. It was close late in the 8th inning when Gary Sanchez allowed a passed ball with a man on third, giving the Twins the lead for good. I woke up sweating in a panic. I had to check the date on my phone to make sure the game hadn’t happened yet. At the end of the day I think the Yankees win this game 5-2. Severino feeds off the big moment and he will rise to the occasion tonight. I think the Yankees jump out first and allow themselves to get a little cushion. If Santana is able to give Minnesota length and keep the Yanks’ bats at bay then it’s going to be full on panic mode. If Dellin has to come in at any point it’s going to be sweating time. This game STINKS, but we have to lay in the bed we made for ourselves. The Yankees were unable to close the gap in the AL East down the stretch and because of that they have to play this stupid fucking game to get into the ALDS. I’m going to be sick all day long today. I may throw up. Let’s just pray Severino shows up like we all think we will and a few of the big bats run into some balls early.

P.S. Get hyped with his video for some October Baseball in the Bronx.

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