No matter the year or the team, the New York Yankees continue to own the Minnesota Twins in the MLB Postseason.
On Tuesday, the New York Yankees advanced to play the Cleveland Indians in the American League Divisional Series on Thursday with an 8-4 win over the Twins in the American League Wild Card game.
In the history of the Wild Card Game (five years), the team that starts the more-experienced starting pitcher (by career starts to that point) has won eight of the 10 contests. Not even having the edge in that stat (Ervin Santana had 376 career starts compared to just 53 by Luis Severino) was enough to help them end their postseason struggles against the Yankees.
After falling behind 3-0 and seeing their best pitcher not make it through the first inning, the Yankees answered the Twins with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning and didn’t look back. From there the Yankees bullpen was masterful, as Chad Green, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman allowed as many hits (4) over 8.1 innings as Luis Severino did facing six batters. The Yankees bullpen set a postseason record for most strikeouts by a bullpen (13) in a game.
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This was the fifth time that the Yankees and Twins have met in the postseason and the Yankees added to their dominance.
After losing Game 1 of the 2003 ALDS, the Yankees have won 13 of their last 14 postseason games against the Twins. Overall, their 13-2 record against the Twins is the second-best postseason winning percentage for one team over another. Only the Cardinals, who are 9-1 against the Padres in the postseason, have a higher win percentage against another team.
The Yankees dominance against the Twins doesn’t just apply to the postseason. Going back to when the Twins last won the World Series in 1991, the Twins are 76-148 (.339 win percentage) against the Yankees. Only the Royals .330 (70-142) win percentage over that span is worse against any team over that span.
The Yankees defeated the Twins in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010, sweeping the Twins in 2009 and 2010. In each of their first three postseason meetings, the Yankees owned home field advantage in defeating the Twins, however, in 2010, the Twins finished with the best record in the American League before the Yankees swept them out of the postseason.
Twins fans have many painful memories of losing to the Yankees in the postseason and Tuesday night was just another example of opportunities missed.
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) October 4, 2017
In 2004 the Twins were two outs away from taking a 2-0 series lead back to Minnesota before the Yankees rallied off of closer Joe Nathan to defeat the Twins 7-6.
Later that series in Game 4, the Twins were six outs from forcing a Game 5, but their bullpen couldn’t hold a 5-1 lead in a 6-5 loss in extra-innings.
In 2009 the Twins took a 2-0 lead into the 9th-inning hoping to have a chance to finish the Yankees at home when Joe Nathan was victimized by the Yankees again. Nathan gave up a two-run blast to Alex Rodriguez, who at that point was a postseason dud, hitting just one HR in his previous 63 postseason AB. Mark Teixeira then ended the Twins misery with a walk-off HR in the 11th.
On Tuesday the Twins continued to succumb to the Yankees postseason dominance, unable to hold a 3-0 lead that was gone almost as quickly as they took it. Once Didi Gregorius went deep to tie the game, Twins fans everywhere knew that history was going to repeat itself.
The Yankees win snapped a five-game postseason losing streak, dating back to Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS.