2019 ALDS: How do Power-Hitting Yankees Match Up Against Power-Hitting Twins?
The 2019 MLB playoffs for the 2019 New York Yankees begin tonight when they face the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS. So what’s the key to this series?
There’s no denying the 2019 New York Yankees regular season was a special one. The Bronx Bombers finished the season with a record of 103-59. That was good enough to finish first in the American League East division. This marks the first time the Yankees have won the AL East since 2012. Most of all, with how much adversity the team has overcome in terms of injuries, it’s given the Yankees a sense of life that they lacked last year. The 2019 regular season of Yankees baseball is one of the best ones the Yankees have had this decade.
However, die-hard New York Yankees fans don’t care about successful regular seasons. They don’t care about winning the division and making the playoffs. The main thing Yankee fans care about is what their team does in the playoff, namely winning championships. And that’s exactly what the Yankees will try to do in the 2019 MLB Postseason. Bring their 28th World Series championship and Commissioner’s Trophy back home to the Bronx.
The New York Yankees will begin their quest for October glory tonight when they face the Minnesota Twins in game 1 of the 2019 American League Divisional Series at the Yankees home ballpark, Yankee Stadium. The Twins have had a very impressive season, finishing with a record of 101-61, the fourth best in the league. That’s more than enough to have won them the American League Central. So how do the AL East champion and two seeded New York Yankees matchup against the AL Central champion and three seeded Minnesota Twins? Let’s dive in and find out.
Two Historical Power-Hitting Lineups
One of the big keys to this series that everyone is talking about is the sheer power of the two lineups. The 2019 Minnesota Twins set the all time record for home runs by one team in a single season with 307, shattering the 268 mark set by the Yankees last year in 2018. The funny part is that standing now in second place are the 2019 New York Yankees, who hit 306 home runs, just one less than the Twins. With two historic home run hitting teams facing off against each other, you can expect to see a lot a balls flying out of Yankee Stadium and Target Field.
However, when looking at the rest of the what the two lineups bring, which one is better? Both are neck and neck in terms of total run scoring. The Yankees scored 943 runs in 2019, the most in the majors, whereas the Twins are right behind with 939 runs scored, second most in the majors. However, in terms of the actual statistics, the Twins rank slightly ahead of the Yankees in several key categories. Minnesota finished second in batting average with .270, second in slugging percentage with .494, and first in OPS with .848. Meanwhile New York finished fourth in batting average with .267, third in slugging percentage with .490, and third in OPS with .829.
Looking at the Twins batters specifically, their lineup is lead by Nelson Cruz. The 39-year old designated hitter is coming off a career year, slashing .311/.392/.639 for a 1.031 OPS with 41 home runs and 108 RBIs. Minnesota has plenty of depth behind Cruz as well, such as Mitch Garver, Miguel Sano, Max Kelper, and Jorge Polanco. While the Yankees lineup is considered to be better overall, the Twins lineup is just as good if not better in multiple areas.
Now that we’ve covered the two lineups, it’s time to look at the two pitching staffs. While both teams have excellent lineups, both of them also have suspect pitching. The Minnesota Twins had a team ERA of 4.18, ninth in the majors, but allowed 754 runs, 14th in the majors. Meanwhile the New York Yankees had a team ERA of 4.31, 14th in the majors, and allowed 739 total runs, 11th in the majors. Lastly, Minessota allowed 198 home runs, seventh in the MLB, whereas New York allowed 248, 24th in the MLB.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone recently announced that the Yankees will go with James Paxton in game 1, Masahiro Tanaka in game 2, and Luis Severino in game 3. Meanwhile the Minnesota Twins will start Jose Berrios in game 1, with Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi waiting in the wings.
A big part of this series will be the pitcher vs. batter matchups. From the Twins side, Nelson Cruz hits Luis Severino well, as he’s 4-for-8 against him in his career. Speaking more on the matchups, Jonathan Scoop hits Masahiro Tanaka well, going 9-for-21 with a home run lifetime. Last but not least, James Paxton has struggled against Marwin Gonzalez, as Gonzalez is 8-for-30 against Paxton.
Meanwhile from the Yankees side, Jose Berrios has been prone to Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner. Judge is 3-for-5 against Berrios whereas Gardner is 4-for-9. However, the Twins pitcher that the Yankees hit well the most is by far is Kyle Gibson. Edwin Encarnacion is 12-for-35, a .343 average, with four home runs against Gibson. Furthermore, Gary Sanchez is 3-for-11 with two home runs and Brett Gardner is 5-for-16.
The last evaluation between these two teams before we move on to our final conclusion is how they played against each other over the regular season. The Yankees and Twins played each other six times over the course of the season. In those six games, the Yankees won four of them. Furthermore, they won the three game series at home as well as the three game series on the road.
Last but not least, let’s look at what both teams did in those six games. Looking at purely run scoring, New York outscored Minnesota 43 runs to 38. Furthermore, as a team, the Yankees hit .327 with 12 home runs for a .989 OPS. On the other hand, the Twins hit just .254 for an .855 OPS, but hit four more home runs for 16 total.
Key to the Series
So now that we’ve looked at both rosters, it’s time to ask the million dollar question. What is the key to this series matchup? What is the key to the 2019 ALDS between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. To answer the question, with how much we’ve talked about it previously, the home run will play a big factor. Both hitting and preventing home runs from the hitting and pitching will be crucial for both teams. You have the two teams who’ve hit the most home runs in a single season in MLB history going at each other. Therefore, whoever wins the home run battle will also likely win the war as well.
New York Yankees fans have been looking forward to the playoffs all season long. However, a number of fans are focused on facing the juggernaut Houston Astros in the ALCS, overlooking the Minnesota Twins. That is a mistake nether the fans, but especially the Yankees themselves, can afford to make. The Twins won 101 game for a reason; they’re a very formidable team. If the Yankees aren’t careful, their season could once again end with an early trip to the golf course.
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