The Yankees used excellent defense, elite pitching and timely hitting to defeat the Twins. Many pundits thought Minnesota could beat them, or at least give them a valiant run for their money. This was the best chance for the Twins to “Slay the dragon”. Yet it seemed they simply bit off more than they could chew.
The Twins had the best home run season in MLB history, yet they managed to only hit 4 solo shots. They also couldn’t get a clutch hit, seemingly all series. I think the Yankees pitching deserves so much credit. Perhaps more than they initially received. The team as a whole made all the key plays versus Minnesota. Ones that involve defense, and intangibles that show up in October.
Nothing was more of a microcosm of the Twins ALDS than Game 3, when they loaded the bases against Luis Severino, who looked to have nothing. There were no outs and the Twins still managed to come up empty. If they score there, the whole game could have had a different outcome. October baseball is about moments and New York simply had more. Payoff baseball is about which team capitalizes on those key situations with pitching, defense and clutch hitting.
With the books being closed on that series. The ALCS is a rematch of 2017, with powerhouses Houston and New York. The Yankees are looking to exorcise some demons and get back to the World Series for the first time in a decade. They know what it takes this time. They’re more mature, deeper, and up for the challenge. The gauntlet they’re staring down is Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. Those two represent the one true advantage the Astros have over New York. Can the Yankees utilize their depth, their bullpen and catch one of these aces on a bad day? Their offense will be ready to grind it out. Time will tell whether this is truly the Yankees year. But to be the best, you must beat the best. The Astros rotation isn’t lined up swimmingly due to playing 5 games vs the Rays. Who will win this battle of wills? The Yankees are hungry for this challenge.