A lot of times these postseason games can mirror a team's regular season.
NY was unable to catch rival Boston for the AL East crown, but the team played some of its best baseball down the stretch and went 20-8 in September to secure the franchise's 53rd postseason appearance.
The Twins will be without slugger Miguel Sano for Tuesday's AL wild-card game. 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. "What the team's done so far this year to get to this point, from spring training to now, is incredible". Go out, have fun and embrace the opportunity. The Twins were three games under.500 and six games behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.More news: Dallas Stars: Remembering Dave Strader
That's how it went for Brett Gardner in 2009, his first full season in the majors. It was the only time I'd ever seen Yankee Stadium where you could hear a pin drop. "And we haven't been back". The Twins claimed the second wild card spot at 85-77, just one year after losing 103 games.
"I think we've played some of our best baseball in the month of September", said manager Joe Girardi.
This one feels like a low-scoring contest.
The Yankees, the "Baby Bombers", are probably ahead of schedule in reaching the playoffs this year.More news: Google Ends "First Click Free" Program
The Yankees lineup includes an interesting mix of young players and veterans including Judge, Gary Sanchez (33 home runs, 90 runs batted in), Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Holiday, and Chase Headley. While the Twins are certainly capable of winning the Wild Card game, the Yankees have been the better team, especially in terms of run differential, which is a very good indicator of a team's true strength. NY hasn't won a postseason game since Derek Jeter broke his ankle in the 2012 ALCS opener against Detroit, which went on to a sweep.
"The faces have changed so much", said Joe Girardi, who managed NY past Minnesota in 2009 and 2010 division series. "I said, 'Yes, and all of that'".
Perhaps most importantly in an elimination game, the Yankees have the better bullpen. "We have a great team, great bullpen, great guys". "It's the advantage of playing in this environment ..." "A guy that was comparable for me in his prime was Pedro [Martinez]". He was pulled late in Sunday's game with Molitor citing Sano's discomfort as the reason for the move. We never quit ... we kept pushing and came up a little short.
"Once Sevy throws that first pitch ... everything will be the same", Judge said.More news: Alvaro Morata to be out for six weeks due to hamstring injury