The New York Yankees just wrapped up a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins in what could potentially be a preview of the American League Wild Card game. It was the first time that the two teams met since July.
Aroldis Chapman is back
There was a major question mark around Chapman throughout the season, especially after the Yankees gave him a five-year contract in free agency. Ineffectiveness cost Chapman his closing job to Dellin Betances at one point but he would reclaim it coming into September.
Despite reclaiming the job, Chapman still wasn’t that dominant force who would get swings and misses on a consistent basis, until now. Chapman came in relief with the bases loaded and one out for the struggling Betances and recorded a five-out save. Chapman overpowered the young Twins and would do so again in game two of the series to give the Yankees their sixth consecutive series win.
The Twins are for real
No one expected the Twins to be where they are coming into the season, yet here we are at the end of September and the Twins are in a wild card spot and it’s easy to see how they got there. To start, they have a great manager in Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, who has them playing a clean all-around game. It’s refreshing to see a team who isn’t afraid to bunt or steal a base in an era where everyone cares about the home run.
Even with the Twins playing a strong all-around game, they still have the power within their lineup and rotation. They have six players with 15 more home runs and have seven with 60 or more RBI. In the rotation, they have young kids that can throw 95+ with quality breaking balls and they have the veteran Bartolo Colon to help guide the young team.
The Baby Bombers are heating up
Whatever questions about Aaron Judge’s struggles that were out there are no longer relevant. Judge had a hot series against the Orioles and continued that hot streak against Minnesota. He and Gary Sanchez continue to be a force in the Yankee lineup as the number two and three hitters and with Greg Bird continuing to produce, this lineup just becomes even stronger.
Chad Green continues to be the team’s most important piece coming out of the bullpen as Joe Girardi has maximized Green in key situations. During the stretch, Green has been asked to go multiple innings but during this series, Girardi used him in a high leverage situation giving the Yankees another force late in games.
This series was a great preview for what we could possibly see in the AL Wild Card game. The Twins have shown that they belong and shouldn’t be taken lightly, whereas the Yankees continue to be a force in the AL East.
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