Yankees vs. Twins score: Gleyber Torres shines as New York completes sweep to advance to ALCS
It is New York's second ALCS trip in three years
The New York Yankees are heading to the ALCS. The Yankees completed their three-game ALDS sweep over the Minnesota Twins in Game 3 on Monday night, 5-1. The Twins, who have lost 16 straight playoff games, are going home for the winter and the Yankees will face either the Astros or the Rays in the next round.
Between Games 1-2 of the 2010 ALDS and Game 3 of the 2019 ALDS, the Yankees have won every postseason game played at Target Field. Here are eight things to know about New York's Game 3 win over the Twins.
1. Severino bent but did not break
It was not easy for Luis Severino. Not at all. Shoulder and lat injuries limited Severino to three regular season starts in September, and while he looked good in those three starts, he is still kinda sorta in spring training mode. His fastball velocity is more 94-96 mph than 97-99 mph, and his command isn't where he needs to be.
Despite that, Severino battled through four scoreless innings against the Twins in Game 3. He gave Minnesota plenty of chances to get on the board -- they put six runners on base in those six innings -- but never allowed The Big Hit.
The Twins went 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position -- the one hit didn't even score a run -- and 2 for 9 with a walk with men on base in general against Severino. Severino threw 47 of his 83 pitches pitches from the stretch, including 47 of his 66 pitches in the first three innings. It was a grind, but he never gave in.
Severino went into Game 3 with a career 6.26 ERA in six career postseason starts, yet Monday was his second scoreless postseason start. He threw four shutout innings in last year's AL Wild Card Game. It wasn't pretty in Game 3, but four zeroes are four zeroes. The Yankees will take 'em.
2. Torres was the star again
Gleyber Torres was the breakout star of the ALDS, which is not normally something you'd say about a two-time All-Star. Torres had the go-ahead two-run double in Game 1 on Friday, and also drove in a run in the Game 2 win. He opened the scoring in Game 3 with a second inning solo home run against Jake Odorizzi.
The home run might not have been the most impactful play of Torres' day, however. With two on and two outs in the fifth inning, and the Yankees nursing a 2-0 lead, Torres made a nifty grab on Eddie Rosario's hard-hit grounder into the shift to end the inning.
Props to DJ LeMahieu at first base for the scoop on that play. Difficult play on both ends. If that ball gets by Torres, it's probably a run-scoring double to right field, getting the Twins on the board and giving them runners on second and third with two outs. Instead, the inning was over. It was a big night in the field as well as at the plate.
Torres added a leadoff double in the seventh inning -- he later scored an insurance run on a Didi Gregorius single -- and another double in the ninth. He is the second-youngest player in baseball history with three extra-base hits in a postseason game. Torres is 22 years and 298 days old. Carlos Correa was 21 years and 20 days old when he had a double and two homers against the Royals in Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS.
3. New York's defense was stellar
The Yankees made several game-changing defensive plays in Game 3. It wasn't just the Torres/LeMahieu play in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Aaron Judge went back and used all 6-foot-7 of his frame to reach up to rob Miguel Sano of extra bases.
Then, in the ninth, Gregorius made this tremendous diving stop on Jorge Polanco's line drive for the 26th and penultimate out:
That ball left Polanco's bat at 106 mph. Pretty much a microcosm of the ALDS right there. The Twins put themselves in position to do some damage -- the tying run was on deck at the time -- but the Yankees made plays and were flat out the better team. The Yankees made several clutch defense plays Monday night.
4. The Twins blew a lot -- a lot -- of chances
You can't say the Twins didn't have their opportunities to make Game 3 interesting. Yankees pitchers had one 1-2-3 inning all night yet all the Twins could muster offensively was Rosario's eighth inning solo homer. Look at these wasted rallies:
- 1st inning: Runner on first, no outs
- 2nd inning: Bases loaded, no outs (!)
- 3rd inning: Second and third, two outs
- 5th inning: Second and third, two outs
- 6th inning: Runner on second, one out
- 7th inning: Runner on first, no outs
- 9th inning: Runners on first and second, no outs
Yeesh. The Twins were the worst team with the bases loaded during the regular season. They ranked 26th in batting average (.217), 30th in on-base percentage (.231), and 27th in slugging percentage (.348) with the sacks full this year. Hard to believe the team that scored the second most runs in baseball was that bad with the bases loaded.
Severino escaped that second-inning mess with an infield pop-up and two strikeouts. Once the Twins let that opportunity slip away, that felt like the series was over. The Yankees are too darn good and the Twins weren't capitalizing on their chances.
5. Baldelli used his closer in the sixth inning
And it was absolutely the right move. Odorizzi gave the Twins a solid start (two runs in five innings), and rather than mess around with his middle relievers, manager Rocco Baldelli went to closer Taylor Rogers in the sixth inning. Rogers did not pitch in Games 1-2 and was well-rested.
Think about it. The Twins did not need zeroes in the ninth (or even the eighth) innings. They needed zeroes earlier, to keep the Yankees from tacking on runs. Use your best reliever to keep the game close and figure out the rest later. Baldelli did it. Alas, Rogers did allow a run in the seventh inning, stretching New York's lead to 3-0.
The strategy was sound. Use your best reliever to give yourself a chance to come back. The Yankees scored 14 runs in 12 innings against Minnesota's bullpen in the ALDS. Rogers may have allowed a run in his two innings in Game 3, but that was a heck of a lot better than what pretty much every other Twins reliever did in the series.
6. The Twins extended their MLB record losing streak
Make it 16 -- 16! -- consecutive postseason losses for the Twins, including 13 straight to the Yankees. Minnesota has not won a postseason game since Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS, when Johan Santana out-dueled Mike Mussina, and Shannon Stewart and Jacque Jones drove in the game's two runs.
Here are the longest postseason losing streaks in baseball history:
- Minnesota Twins: 16 games and counting (2004-present)
- Boston Red Sox: 13 (1985-95)
- Philadelphia Phillies: 11 (1915-76)
- Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves: 10 (1958-91)
- Kansas City Royals: 10 (1980-85)
Not only do the Twins hold the MLB record for most consecutive postseason losses, the Game 3 loss Monday tied the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks for the most consecutive postseason losses in the four major North American sports leagues. The Blackhawks lost 16 straight playoff games from 1975-79.
The Twins have to wait at least one more year to end that MLB record postseason losing streak. Once they do that, they can focus on winning back-to-back postseason games for the first time since Game 7 of the 1991 World Series (vs. Braves) and Game 1 of the 2002 ALDS (vs. Athletics).
7. A 100-win team got swept
It doesn't happen often, but it does happen, and it happened to the Twins this year. Minnesota won 101 regular season games before going three-and-out in the postseason. They are the first 100-team to be swept in the postseason since the 105-win Cardinals were swept by the Red Sox in the 2004 World Series. The Twins are the first 100-win team to be swept in the first round of the postseason since the 103-win Yankees were swept by the Royals in the 1980 ALCS. 101 regular season wins and zero postseason wins has to be a tough pill to swallow for the Twins.
8. The Yankees are moving on
For the second time in three years, the Yankees will play in the ALCS. They lost the 2017 ALCS in seven games to the eventual World Series champion Astros. This year the Yankees will face either the Astros or Rays in the ALCS. Houston leads that series 2-1 with Game 4 on tap for Tuesday. If the Astros win the ALDS, the ALCS will begin Saturday at Minute Maid Park. If the Rays win the ALDS, the ALCS will begin Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
Relive ALDS Game 3
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