|4:07 PM PT5:07 PM MT6:07 PM CT7:07 PM ET19:07 ET23:07 GMT7:07 4:07 PM MST6:07 PM EST6:37 PM VEN3:07 UAE (+1)6:07 PM CT, October 4, 2019
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York Attendance: 49,233
Twins, Yankees dismiss history entering Game 1
Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
- This series will pit the top two home run hitting teams in MLB history against each other, as the Twins set the all-time mark with 307, with the Yankees falling one shy at 306. This will also be the second season in a row that will feature an ALDS with two 100-win teams facing off, as the 108-win Red Sox defeated the 100-win Yankees in the 2018 ALDS.
- This is the 21st season in which the Yankees have won 100+ games, giving them more 100-win seasons than the next two closest teams combined (A's & Cardinals, 19 combined). New York placed 30 different players on the IL in the regular season, the most of any team in a single season since at least 1987.
- This has been a historically lopsided postseason matchup as the Yankees have won all five of the rounds played (includes 2017 AL Wild Card game), and 13 of 15 games overall. The Yankees enter this series with an active 10-game winning streak against the Twins in the postseason, tied for the second-longest win streak by any team against a single opponent in postseason history. The Red Sox hold the record, having won 11 straight playoff games against the Angels from 1986-2008.
- Over his final 11 starts, James Paxton went 10-0 with a 2.51 ERA, and the Yankees won all 11 games. In his first season in the Bronx, Paxton racked up 11.11 strikeouts per nine innings, the highest single season mark in franchise history (min. 150 IP). The Twins will counter with 25-year old Jose Berrios, whose only postseason experience came in 2017 when he allowed three runs in three innings in a loss against the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game.
- Aaron Judge has averaged a home run every 9.6 at-bats in his postseason career, as he has hit seven across 18 career playoff games. Judge hit 15 home runs from August 20 until the end of the season, tying him with Cincinnati's Eugenio Suarez for most in MLB over that time.
- Nelson Cruz led the Twins with 41 home runs in his first season with the team despite playing in only 120 games. He joined Barry Bonds (45 HR in 2004) and Hank Aaron (40 HR in 1973) as the only players all-time to hit 40+ HR in their age-39 season. Cruz ended the decade (2010-19) with an MLB-high 346 home runs, besting current Yankees Edwin Encarnacion (335) and Giancarlo Stanton (308), who rank second and third, respectively. Cruz has hit 16 home runs in his postseason career, tied with Carlos Beltran for ninth all-time. Cruz owns a career .669 slugging percentage in the postseason, second all-time among the 157 players with at least 150 postseason plate appearances (Babe Ruth - .744).
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NEW YORK -- A common narrative regarding the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees is past postseason history.
But both sides believe what unfolded in four previous American League Division Series and in one wild-card game hold little significance to this year, especially when both teams won more than 100 games during the regular season and powered their way into the postseason.
The fifth ALDS meeting and perhaps the most evenly matched between the teams begins Friday night when the Twins visit Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees beat the Twins in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010 and then rallied from an early three-run deficit to claim an 8-4 victory in the 2017 wild-card game to win in New York. The Yankees have won 10 straight postseason meetings against the Twins and 13 of the 15 playoff games between the teams.
"Teams change," New York manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday. "All I know is we're up against a really good opponent. So, I don't at all get caught up in the history of it, honestly, just because I think there's so many guys that have nothing to do with some of that, and we know we're playing a great team.
"But we're also confident that if we play our game, we have a chance to advance. It's as simple as that, but we know we have to play well to do that."
In the previous postseason meetings, the Twins never entered with more than 94 wins. But this year, Minnesota won 101, highlighted by a lineup known as the "Bomba Squad" that set a major league record with 307 homers, one more than the Yankees.
New York controlled the AL East from June 15 on and completed a second straight 100-win season despite having a major-league-record-setting 30 players spend time on the injured list. That included sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, who were limited to 18 and 102 games, respectively.
The Yankees finished with a team-record 306 homers with a major-league-record 14 players in double digits.
Minnesota finished with the second-most wins in franchise history, one behind the 1965 team that lost the World Series in seven games. The Twins saw five players (Nelson Cruz, Max Kepler, Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, and Mitch Garver) hit at least 30 apiece, and 11 players reached double-digit homers.
The power display resulted in at least a share of first place in the AL Central for all but one day from April 27 on.
"I think we've had to answer a lot of questions from people that are worried about what has happened in the past," Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. "I've said earlier this week, and I'll say it again, I don't care about what's happened here in the past. I don't care about anything except what goes on with our guys, starting this Friday, and this series is really all that matters.
"Nothing that's ever happened here before or in Minnesota or anywhere else previously is going to affect any of our players in any way."
Jose Berrios (14-8, 3.68 ERA) will make his first postseason start for Minnesota in Game 1. Berrios matched or set career highs with starts (32) and innings (200 1/3) and finished with 195 strikeouts.
He ended the season by allowing two runs on six hits in six innings last week at Kansas City.
Berrios took the loss in the wild-card game two years ago when he allowed a two-run homer to Judge among five hits in three innings. He did not oppose the Yankees this season and is 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA in three regular-season starts against New York.
James Paxton (15-6, 3.82 ERA) will make his postseason debut for the Yankees after ending the season with 10 straight wins. He exited after the first inning in Texas on Sept. 27 due to soreness in his left glute muscle, but an MRI came back clean.
Paxton is 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in six career starts against Minnesota.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 4, 2019