By Michael Emami
Stop me if you haven’t heard this before: the Yankees are a good team. In a best-of-five division series that only went three games, the Yankees utterly decimated the Twins in a sweep that broke the hearts of the Minneapolis faithful Monday night. James Paxton, Mashiro Tanaka and Luis Severino all dominated in their respective starts, combined with a good bullpen performance, and America’s beloved “Bomb Squad” could only muster up seven total runs compared to the Yankees’ 23. In a series that couldn’t get much worse for Minnesota fans, every game ended in an agonizing blowout. But, does this say more about who the Yankees are, or who the Twins are?
Here’s a breakdown:
Yankees are good, like really good.
Yes, the Yankees dominated a lot of facets of the game throughout the 2019 season. Battling injuries, this is a team that has put a new meaning to the phrase “adapt and conquer.” Several players, most notably Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, sat and watched for weeks as their replacements cranked up an offensive powerhouse that managed to win dozens of games. By Game 1 of the ALDS, the Yankees were ninth in WHIP, fourth in batting average, second in home runs hit and had won 103 games through a gritty 2019 season. Talk to any GM and they’ll surely tell you that’s more than just an impressive stat line, given what New York had to deal with.
Did all that warrant a sweep against a Twins team that also won over 100 games?
No. The Twins were good team, and still are going into 2020. Eddie Rosario, Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano … need anyone else say more? This team was no. 1 in the longball for one reason: they bolstered a powerful lineup. Not to mention, they were ninth in WHIP, eighth in ERA, fifth in home runs allowed, second in the league in average and second in the league in runs. In what many thought would be a division that was the Indians’ to lose, the Twins hammered their way to first place through sheer offensive dominance.
Given the numbers, the 2019 Twins were a lot to write home about, right?
Yes and no. With numbers like that, fans have high expectations for their baseball team. This means a team should win more than zero games in the playoffs, but Twins fans shouldn’t panic. The Twins have a very ugly history against the Yankees come the postseason, plus the entire team looked completely flustered and underperformed as a result throughout the three games. Paxton, Tanaka and Severino all outmatched Minnesota’s starters, and the bullpen collapsed in several key moments. Bottom line, the Yankees didn’t just win this series, the Twins underperformed immensely and demonstrated a tremendous lack of postseason experience.
Could free agency moves change the results?
Come winter of 2019, the Twins will need to start looking at potential candidates to add some fire power within their bullpen and starting rotation. With contracts closing and deals pending in 2020, the Twins will have their hands full in the winter of 2019. Landing a household name as the ace of their starting rotation could be a priority for the front office. Madison Bumgardner, Dallas Keuchel, Rick Porcello or Zach Wheeler could all be ideal candidates, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, there are other teams hunting for those names too. Being aggressive during this offseason could be very beneficial for the Twins and if that happens, come a Yankees-Twins ALDS in October 2020, results could be very different.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org