Youthful Yankees Heavy Favorites Against Twins in AL Wild Card Game

Who: Minnesota Twins v. New York Yankees

When: Tuesday October 3rd, 2017 8:09PM EST

Where: Yankee Stadium—New York, New York

There are plenty of people who hate the Wild Card games, because even though their teams made the playoffs they run the risk of being eliminated from the post-season on the very same day it begins. Despite this reality, the Twins and the Yankees will be counting their blessings to have even made it this far. After last season, Minnesota was the owner of a whopping 103 losses, and it seemed as though it would be quite some time until they were ever going to be near a post-season berth. With that said, the Twins came out firing all season long and, after a tumultuous last few months of the season, they were finally rewarded.

As for the Yankees, they were also not exactly expected to be making an appearance in the post-season. Though there was always talent on their roster, their move to a more youth-centric lineup convinced many experts that there was no way the Pinstripes would be able to navigate their way through a talented American League. With that said, the Yankees did exactly that. What’s more, the men from New York looked impressive throughout most of the season, and especially prior to the All-Star Break. There was a bit of a lapse on the part of New York following the All-Star Break, but by the end of July they had bounced back to their usual selves.

This being a one-game elimination endeavor, both sides will be pulling out all the stops in order to win and move on to the ALDS. On paper, the Yankees seem to be better-equipped than the Twins, but the fact of the matter is that the Twins have been surprising folks all year long, and it would be little surprise if they emerged victorious tonight.

Game Overview and Analysis

When the visiting Twins (+235) take the field, they will be sending their ace Ervin Santana (16-8 3.28 ERA) to the mound. Santana has not only been far and away the best pitcher on the Twins, he has also been perhaps the most consistent as well. Over the course of August and September, Santana has accrued a 5-1 record and has been a major contributing factor to the Twins’ emergence as a playoff contender this year.

Santana has only faced the Yankees once, and it was very recently, on September 18th. That outing just so happens to be the only loss Santana incurred through the final 2 months of the season, however he managed to pitch more than 5 complete innings and only gave up 2 earned runs to one of the best offenses in the AL. Despite him being credited with the loss, Santana did have a solid outing in his only outing versus the Yankees. If his offense can support him with more than just the single run they were able to muster on September 18th, I am by no means counting the Twins out of this one.

As for the Yankees (-257), they will be sending one of their aces, Luis Severino (14-6 2.98 ERA) to the mound. Severino went 3-0 to close out the last month of the season and has been known for keeping runs off the board all year long. The Twins are a strong hitting team, but an inconsistent one at that. Severino last faced Minnesota on September 20th and only managed to make it through 3 complete innings, and gave up 3 earned runs in the process. Though the Yankees’ offense powered through to allow this game to be a no-decision for Severino, recent history shows that the Twins match up decently with the Yankees’ ace.

In this matchup I think it is going to be whatever team’s bats come to play that will win it. Everyone knows the ability of the 2 starting pitchers, but also knows that both of these offensive lineups have struggled with consistency from time to time. All things considered, it is not looking like this will be a high-scoring affair, but at the same time you can really never know what is going to happen in these Wild Card games. On top of all of this, Miguel Sano, the Twins’ big-hitter, will not be playing in this game.

Betting Prediction

Despite them being away from home, I think you have to go with the value offered by Minnesota’s moneyline (+235). This being a single-game elimination affair, I think that the Twins—with their greater level of experience—will pull this game out. The pitchers are evenly matched, but the Twins have a larger number of players who have been to the MLB post-season before, and I think that will make a massive difference.

If I like the Twins’ moneyline as offered by BetOnline, I really like their point spread, which sees them listed as +1.5 (+107) underdogs. The odds are not as great, but I think this is a smart bet to go with.

As far as the over/under is concerned, it is currently listed at 7.5 runs (+100/-120). Being that this game features two of the best pitchers on their respective side, I am going to have to err towards the under (-120) in this one.