It is official! The first team in the 2019 MLB postseason to advance to a league championship series (LCS) is the New York Yankees. The Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins that sends them to the 2019 ALCS, where they will take on the Houston Astros or the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros hold a 2-1 lead over the Rays in that series. The Yankees sweep came based on an offensive onslaught the first two games, which helped them get ahead in the series.
In-game one, the Yankees defeated the Twins 10-4 with the bullpen getting some work in after 4.2 innings pitched from James Paxton, where he allowed three of the four runs on five hits. Offensively it was possible 2019 AL MVP candidate DJ Lemahieu who helped had four RBI while going 3-5 on the day with a double and home run. The Yankees also got a little added boost from Brett Gardner, who hit a home run in the sixth inning gave the Yankees a bit more of a cushion on the lead.
The Twins threw their ace, Jose Berríos, who only tossed four innings allowing only one earned run but three total. After Berríos departed, it was Cody Stashak and Kyle Gibson who would surrender the majority of the runs allowing the Yankees to cruise to victory in game one. Offensively they did manage four runs, but it was not enough to compete with the Yankees offense, which just piled it on.
Game two saw a different tone from the Twins, a feel-good story of a starting pitcher for the Twins backfired on manager Rocco Baldelli. They started Randy Dobnak, who was pitching in a four-team independent ball league in Michigan just a few years ago. The former United Shore Professional Baseball League alum managed to work his way into the big leagues and earn a spot on the postseason roster, but the Yankees offense proved to be too much to handle. Dobnak would only last two innings allowing four earned runs on six hits, but it was Tyler Duffey who would allow a grand slam to allow the Yankees to stretch their lead even farther.
The Yankees tossed Masahiro Tanaka, who threw five strong innings before turning it over to the bullpen, who was lights out beside a blemish from Jonathan Loaisiga in the ninth inning. The grand slam that allowed the Yankees to gain separation came from Didi Gregorious off of Duffey, and that sealed the fate of the Twins in game two. The Yankees would ultimately take game two by a score of 8-2 over the Twins.
Game three is where the Yankees offense was slowed down a little bit, but not enough for the Twins to extend the series. It was Yankees pitcher Luis Severino who pitched a gem to allow his team to complete the sweep. Severino threw four shutout innings and turned it over to the bullpen who would continue the shutout until Zack Britton came on in relief for Chad Green and surrendered a home run. Britton would be done after he appeared to be injured, leaving Chapman with the five-out save opportunity. Offensively it was youngster Gleyber Torres who got the party started with a home run in the first inning. Cameron Maybin pinch hit for Giancarlo Stanton in the ninth and went deep for the Yankees for some security runs.
The Twins threw Jake Odorizzi, who pitched five innings, allowing two runs on five hits before turning it over the bullpen. Offensively the Twins would get the bat on the ball, getting on base but not being able to get runners in to score, stranding eleven runners on base in game three. The sweep was capped off by a 5-1 victory by the Yankees to eliminate the Twins from the 2019 postseason. The season ends on a low note after winning the AL Central division over the Cleveland Indians, who would subsequently be beaten out by the Rays and Oakland Athletics for the two wildcard spots.
Now, all attention turns to the Rays and Astros in the American League to see who the Yankees will face in 2019 ALCS. The NLDS series’ are both in a deadlock and will be decided Wednesday, October 9th.