February 22, 2018

Twins' Sano out of wild-card game

04 October 2017, 12:29 | Marlene Fleming

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Minnesota and NY are both in the playoffs after successful rebuilds, with Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton powering the Twins and Aaron Judge emerging as an MVP contender with the Yankees.

Undoubtedly the strength of the team, NY features one of the best bullpens in all of major league baseball. Scoring early against him is a tall task, but failing to do so could make for a long night for the Twins, because the Yankees have an incredible bullpen. The Yankees, on the other hand, went 91-71 to secure the top Wild-Card spot and home field advantage for tonight's matchup.

The victor of tonight's game will travel to Cleveland for a seven-game series against the defending American League champs.

The Yankees started off strong, winning 21 of their first 30 and improving their mark to 38-23 by June 12. A lot of times these postseason games can mirror a team's regular season.

The 24-year-old outfielder/designated hitter will not be on the roster as the Twins take on the Yankees in the Bronx, the team revealed on Tuesday morning. As a team clinging to just making the playoffs, the Twins should not and did not care who it was they had to face in the postseason. The Twins activated him for the final weekend of the season, his first action since August 19.

While Sano's status was somewhat up in the air, Twins manager Paul Molitor said as recently as Monday that he expected to have Sano at least on the bench for the wild-card game with the Yankees. I wish I had one of those Men In Black zapper memory remover thing-a-ma-jigs although I'd like to be more selective than just erase all my memories. "Whatever your motivation is, that's fine". Ervin Santana had some clunkers, but his performance in his second All-Star season was an enormous lift for a pitching staff that languished at the bottom of baseball the last few years.

Severino emerged as the ace by going 14-6, striking out 230 and posting a 2.98 ERA.

The Red Sox are in a series against the Houston Astros.

This year the Twins are now, as of writing this on September 29, 83-76 with three games left against the Detroit Tigers. Brian Dozier was slightly more advanced in the minors in 2010 and reached the majors in 2012. And there are still have guys like Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco.

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Didi Gregorius hit 25 home runs this season. "We're ready for that kind of atmosphere", Gardner said. "So, it's good to be back".

In a one-game playoff, the starters are key and both teams have their best going tonight.

"We have been a little up this year which is unusual around here", said Joe Bastone, owner of Yankee Tavern.

After getting some offseason tips from Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, Severino finished third in the American League in ERA, placed fourth in strikeouts, third in hits per nine innings (6.98) and fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (10.51).

"We realize we've still got a lot of work to do", said outfielder Brett Gardner. "That's what I did, and that's how that worked out and helped me".

In the end, the home crowd and Yankees lineup will prove to be too much for the Twins to handle. On Sunday, Dozier had two hits and a run; Mauer had a hit and an RBI. The Twins got to Luis early in NY including a 46-pitch 3rd inning where the Twins took a 3-0 lead. The one loss occurred September 18 in NY when Santana allowed two runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. Former No. 2 overall pick Byron Buxton finally broke through as a potential star with 16 home runs and 29 steals. If Santana can continue to perform at a higher level than his career averages indicate, the Twins will have a good fighting chance in this game. "The guy is tall".

Going into this year, though, the Yankees had missed the playoffs three of the past four seasons.

The history of the Minnesota Twins playing the New York Yankees in the postseason for most fans brings up nothing but bad and/or angry memories of lost games and lost series.

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