Yanks-Twins: Lineups, matchups, FAQ (FS1)

October 7th, 2019

The Yankees extended their run of dominance over the Twins to a record-breaking 12 straight playoff wins with a pair of blowouts in the Bronx that gave them a commanding 2-0 advantage in the best-of five American League Division Series. The Yanks have swept each of the last four ALDS in which they have taken a 2-0 lead.

But the Twins only lost three consecutive games twice during the regular season, and they hope that a change of scenery to the friendly confines of Target Field will give their lineup a jolt when playoff baseball returns to Minneapolis for the first time since 2010 on Monday night.

Can Minnesota finally exorcise its New York demons in front of a playoff-hungry home crowd? The Twins' margin for error is down to zero when starts against on for Game 3.

In the history of best-of-five postseason series, teams taking a 2-0 lead have gone on to win the series 71 of 81 times (88 percent). In Division Series with the current 2-2-1 format, those winning Games 1 and 2 at home have won the series 27 of 30 times (90 percent). Of those 27 victories, 18 have been sweeps.

When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 3 will be on Monday at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

All games telecast on TBS, FOX and FS1 will be available to MLB.TV subscribers who are authenticated subscribers to the applicable network through a participating pay TV provider.

What do the starting lineups look like?
The Yankees will use the same lineup from Games 1 and 2 against another right-hander in Game 3. Manager Aaron Boone is enjoying the consistency of an order that has produced 18 runs so far in the ALDS. The Yanks had only one stretch where they used the same lineup in three consecutive games during the regular season (Sept. 6-8 at Boston).

Twins: With another right-hander on the mound for the Yankees in Game 3, there’s nothing for Twins manager Rocco Baldelli to change from his Game 2 batting order. Fourth outfielder Jake Cave again earned the starting nod over first baseman , moving Marwin Gonzalez to first base. Cron and will give the Twins plenty of right-handed pop off the bench.

Who are the starting pitchers?
Severino (1-1, 1.50 ERA) was expected to be the Yanks’ ace coming into 2019, but the right-hander was limited to just three starts (12 innings) due to right shoulder and lat injuries. The good news for New York is that Severino appeared to have his nasty stuff in September, if not his regular stamina. Severino has said that he’ll be satisfied with five good innings, and so would the Yankees.

Twins: All-Star right-hander Odorizzi (15-7, 3.51 ERA) completed at least five innings and allowed no more than three earned runs in all but one of his second-half starts. The problem? That lone exception was a nine-run blowup in July against these Yankees at Target Field. Odorizzi only walked four batters in 22 innings during his four September starts, which could be significant against a Yanks lineup that has been more discerning at the plate than some Twins expected entering this series.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
After using each of their “Four Horsemen” -- Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman -- to lock down Game 1, Boone was able to get through a breezier Game 2 by only asking for three outs each from Kahnle and Ottavino. Look for Chad Green to be available as the Bombers’ Swiss Army knife reliever, and if they don’t use him, Green may be in play to serve as an opener should there be a Game 4.

Twins: Baldelli stopped short of using Taylor Rogers, his most significant bullpen weapon, in the first two games of the series, and only used Sergio Romo and Trevor May after Game 2 was already out of hand. With the Twins facing elimination, his usage of all of those pitchers could become more aggressive. Tyler Duffey will likely still be the “fireman” to escape a jam at the first sign of trouble, and Romo, Zack Littell and Rogers will likely come into play no matter what.

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
No. Boone said that J.A. Happ was not available for Game 2 after being used for an inning in relief late in Game 1, but two days’ rest should be sufficient considering the lefty threw only 23 pitches in that appearance. Otherwise, Happ could draw a starting assignment or pitch behind Green if Game 4 is necessary.

Twins: No. Facing a do-or-die situation, it should be all hands on deck for the Twins. The only question could be converted starter Kyle Gibson, who threw 34 pitches in Game 1 on Friday night, but he will likely be fine to pitch on two days’ rest.

Any injuries of note?
Two ALDS games down and the Yankees seem to be holding together well. Their concerns coming into the series were Encarnacion (left oblique) and Sanchez (left groin), and there have been no issues as of yet.

Twins: No. The only real question for the Twins was about the health of Luis Arraez’s right ankle, which he sprained on the penultimate day of the regular season, but he certainly appeared well enough to play in Games 1 and 2, and even if he were hobbled, Minnesota would miss his bat too much in an elimination game.

Who is hot and who is not?
Judge has reached base safely in seven of 10 plate appearances in the series. Encarnacion is 4-for-9 with two runs, two doubles, two RBIs and a walk through the first two games of the ALDS. LeMahieu has hit .455 (11-for-26) with eight RBIs in seven games against the Twins this season (including the postseason). Stanton is looking for his first hit after four at-bats so far in this ALDS, though he has worked four walks and lifted a sacrifice fly. Sanchez is 0-for-5 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch.

Twins: It’s good that rookie second baseman Arraez’s sprained right ankle healed in time for him to start in the ALDS, because he was 3-for-7 with three doubles in Games 1 and 2. Nelson Cruz has also reached base five times in nine plate appearances this ALDS, including a solo homer in Game 1, after finishing the season with seven homers and a 1.031 OPS in September. Miguel Sanó homered in Game 1, but he has otherwise struck out six times in his other seven plate appearances, including a golden sombrero with four strikeouts in Game 2 on Saturday night.

Anything else fans might want to know?
The Twins’ 15-game losing streak in the postseason is the longest in Major League history, and their 12 straight losses to the Yankees in October are also the longest such streak between any two playoff opponents.