Yankees host Twins as Major League Baseball playoffs begin

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Joe Mauer and the Minnesota Twins are back in the postseason for the first time in seven years, facing the New York Yankees on Tuesday night in the AL wild-card game.

The victor of tonight's game will travel to Cleveland for a seven-game series against the defending American League champs.

"To me, I feel good about going in", he said. For the Yankees, that would tarnish a 91-win season that included chasing the Red Sox to the final weekend for the AL East title. "We set a goal to prove everybody wrong and we did that today, but we still have work to do".

In the regular season, Santana is 6-10 with a 5.66 ERA in 20 starts against the Yankees. Nobody thought they were going to be here. While Santana has been able to limit his BB:K ratio (0.37:1), his home-run rate is slightly concerning, as he's given up 1.32 HR/9 during the regular season.

The Yankees Go Yard blog opens its game preview this way: "This is not the wild-card play-in game anyone expected in April".

The Yankees, on paper, have a much-deeper bullpen with Dellin Betances, David Robertson and a back-in-form Aroldis Chapman all available.

The 23-year-old righthander, who made his first All-Star team, allowed no more than one run in an MLB-best 16 of his 31 starts. "It's a one-game playoff", manager Joe Girardi said.

Ervin Santana pitches for the Twins. They are supposed to win this game because it's in their park, on their turf and in front of their fans.

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After a 3-3 tie at the end of the first, Rivers spotted Eddie Royal for the game's first touchdown early in the second. Pretty soon, ex-Chargers fans will no longer feel the need to keep tuning in, making ratings nearly non-existent.

The Twins will throw Ervin Santana, he went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA this season. With everything on the line and the Yankees' new go-to arm, count on him to be fully locked in tonight. He also led the club in runs scored (106) and runs batted in (93). 28 homers and 77 RBIs in 114 games.

The Yankees, who were the victims of a quick playoff exit after losing the 2015 AL wild-card game at home to the Astros, are stressing normalcy. Catcher Gary Sanchez also contributed heavily with 33 dingers and 90 RBI's.

Colby Rasmus and ex-Twin Carlos Gomez hit solo homers in the second and fourth innings, respectively, and 2015 Cy Young Award victor Dallas Keuchel cruised through six shutout innings on three hits and seven strikeouts. Minnesota's bullpen ranks 22nd with a 4.40 ERA.

Undoubtedly the strength of the team, NY features one of the best bullpens in all of major league baseball. Yankee Stadium is one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the league, and the Yankees use it well.

NY eliminated Minnesota from the playoffs four times from 2003-10, but only Mauer remains from those Twins teams. The Twins were just 2-12 in those four series against the Yankees.

"I gar-awn-tee you, you can ask 99 percent of the people in [this clubhouse], and they'll have no idea what you're talking about".

But there's a reason that the Twins have +205 betting odds and the Yankees are -240 favorites, via OddsShark. We don't care a bit about that.

Over a five- or seven-game series, all of that would give the Yankees a significant advantage, before you even added in that they have home-field advantage for this game. Berrios taking over for Santana in the sixth or seventh inning and bridging the gap to Minnesota's best relievers is perhaps one of the most plausible paths to a Twins win.

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