Fantasy Preview Yankees vs Twins 18th Sep 2017

If the MLB playoffs started today, then the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins would be the two teams playing in the Wild Card game in the American League playoffs. This weeks three game series kicks off on 18th September @ Yankees.

Considering there’s still almost two weeks of regular season baseball left to play, both of these teams have plenty of work to do, before they can start preparing for any postseason game of any kind. The Twins hold a slim two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for that second Wild Card spot, and the Yankees are only four games ahead of the Twins and only six head of the Angels for their top Wild Card spot.

Collectively, the Twins are the second-worst team in the baseball, among all teams still in playoff contention, at generating opposing strikeouts per nine innings pitched (forcing only 7.3). That stat is far from a fluke; the Twins are in the bottom-third of the American League in Earned Run Average (ERA) at 4.64 runs per game. That doesn’t juxtapose well with the fact that the Yankees have generated the second-most runs in the American League.

Of course, much of the conversation around the Yankees’ run production revolves around second-year phenom Aaron Judge. After a first half of the season in which he went on a torrid pace in basically every batting stat conceivable his lengthy slump to start the second half was discouraging. However, Judge now has six homers, 13 RBI and 13 runs through his past 10 games, and looks like he could be rounding back into form for October.

And while Judge is the darling of this year, who can forget Gary Sanchez? Last year’s rookie sensation is batting .281 this year, with a .349 on base percentage (OBP) and .538 slugging percentage; he actually leads the team in RBI with 86 as well.

Judge, Sanchez, and the rest of the Yankees lineup will be tested early, when the Twins send right-handed pitcher Ervin Santana to the mound for the first game of the series. Santana’s 3.35 ERA is the fifth-best in the AL among starting pitcher, and his 15 wins are the third most of any pitcher in the AL.

After a miserable season in 2016, Jose Berrios who will start the second game for the Indians has been much better this year. He had an 8-3 record heading into All-Star break, and has a 12-7 record to date. He’s also allowed two or less earned runs in four of his last six starts, as he rounds into form for a potential run in the Fall.

For the Yankees, 37 year old CC Sabathia — who will start in the second game of the series as well hasn’t picked up a loss since the first week of August, and has allowed two or less earned runs in four of his five last starts.

Masahiro Tanaka, who will start in Game 3 for New York, had an ERA of 3.94 in June and 3.82 in July. They’ll anchor the Yankees rotation both in this series, and for their postseason run as well.

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