Power and a pitching staff that flosses a formidable bullpen is what built the Yankees dynasty when Derek Jeter was leading the championship charge. Last night, in an 8-4 Wild Card game win over the Minnesota Twins that formula held true and allowed the Yankees to comeback from a three-run first inning deficit and avoid a premature loss to an inferior squad and advance to the American League Division Series against the dangerous and well-balanced Cleveland Indians.
Two first inning homers had Yankees fans panicking as there would be no Game 2 to this one-and-done Wild Card scenario. The Yanks chose to toss 23-year-old, inexperienced Lou Severino and it backfired. Severinos line was horrendous and brief: one-third of an inning, four hits (including two homers), three runs, one walk, zero strikeouts.
Recap of Yankees P Luis Severino’s #WildCardGame start: https://t.co/93PrNrAmDV
Fortunately, Twins ace Ervin Santana was just as bad. In 2005, Santana came on as a reliever to help the Angels win a decisive division series game against the Yankees and he was confident before the start that he could do an even better job this time.
Ervin Santana at press conference: “How many wins do I have in Yankee Stadium? None? Then tomorrow will be the first.
The red-hot, record-breaking bat of 52-homer terror Aaron Judge and the leadoff power of Brett Gardner, had other ideas. Gardner answered Minnesota’s early power surge with a shot of his own. With the Yankees hanging on by one run, Judge hit a laser line drive two-run homer in the fourth inning which stole the momentum from Minnesota for good.
Aaron Judge: 3rd rookie in Yankees history to homer in postseason debut. Others: Elston Howard (1955), Shane Spencer (1998) via @EliasSports
The Twins’ fast start was quickly erased. Some more power and pitching later (Yanks relievers held Minnesota scoreless for last six innings of the game) and the Yanks prevailed. After a brief celebration, the Yankees prepare for the primetime grind against Cleveland int he ALDS on Thursday.
Yankees celebrate Wild Card win with Champagne (PHOTOS) https://t.co/gtKahtY5ys
Part of being a great playoff team is the ability to pick another guy up who is having an off night and avoiding a disastrous snowball effect. . The Yankees’ total team effort was enough to get the job done. And in the process, the young ace Severino now has a playoff failure under his belt and will surely be more effective in his next start now that he understands how quickly a playoff game can get away and he can return the favor in the Cleveland series where his K-potential will be needed more than ever.