Every Twins fan knows it: Whether it’s the regular season or the postseason, the Twins have struggled to beat the New York Yankees. In the postseason, the Twins lost to the Yankees in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010. And now they are set to meet again Tuesday in the Bronx. It’s the Twins’ Ervin Santana vs. the Yanks’ Luis Severino.
Here’s how the Twins can beat the pinstripers:
-Believe in Santana: Santana is coming off his best season in years. He won 16 games, logged more than 200 innings, pitched 20 quality starts (six innings with three or fewer earned runs) and limited batters to a .225 average. All that and his ERA was 3.28.
-Go to the bullpen often: If Santana falters, the Twins should go deep on the bullpen. If someone gives up a hit, get a new pitcher; if someone walks a batter, get a new pitcher. Keep the Yankees off balance all night.
-Throw nothing over the plate to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez: Make them work for every pitch. Hit the corners to get strikes, or make them chase bad balls out of the strike zone.
-Go with the best lineup, including Miguel Sano: Every team in the American League knows he’s a dangerous hitter and his presence will alter how pitchers view him and the other hitters in the lineup. Sano could also be intentionally walked, which means a man on base for the Twins.
-Show extreme patience at the plate: Work those pitch counts for the best pitch to hit or to draw a walk.
-Be prepared to bunt, especially Byron Buxton: Need to shake things up early in the game? Let Buxton lay down a bunt or two because the Yankees won’t get him at first base. Buxton is too fast. Buxton should also be prepared to steal bases.
-Challenge calls: If there’s some doubt about an umpire’s call, challenge it.
-Consider using Robbie Grossman in the lineup. Grossman has a knack for being patient at the plate and earning free passes to first base.
-If Severino does this: If he looks for strikes with a first-pitch fastball, the Twins should be prepared to cast aside patience and go for it. Jump all over that first pitch for some quick runs. However, be wary of quick outs.
-Above all: Wipe the slate clean. Forget the past. This is the playoffs. Anything can happen. Go Twins.
Twins finish 85-77. Same as 1987.
— Patrick (PJ) Reusse (@1500ESPN_Reusse) October 1, 2017