American League Wildcard Recap


James Kim, Staff Writer

The American League Wildcard game on Tuesday night was, in a word, wild. The New York Yankees played the Minnesota Twins in a “winner take all” thriller filled with many home runs and memorable moments. The Yankees relied on young ace Luis Severino on the mound while the Twins started star Ervin Santana.

The first inning had unexpected twists and turns on both sides of the field. The top of the first inning started with a leadoff home run from Minnesota’s Brian Dozier, his 34th of the year. Severino then allowed two runners to reach base and gave up another home run, this time to Eddie Rosario. The Twins jumped to a 3-0 lead forcing manager Joe Girardi to take the young starter out. Despite his impressive numbers this season, Luis Severino was unable to get the job done, resulting in the shortest start in Yankee playoff history since 1960. Reliever Chad Green came in and prevented further damage by striking out the next two batters and ending the top half of the inning. Although they had instantly been down three runs, the Yankees were not going to give up. After runners had reached first and third, shortstop Didi Gregorius hit a game-tying three-run shot to right field. The fans in the stadium erupted with cheers and the Yanks were right back in the game.

Chad Green continued his solid pitching against the Twins and retired three straight batters in the 2nd inning. Santana got back on the mound for the Twins and watched Yankee Todd Frazier hit a high fly ball to center field. Potential Gold Glove-winner Byron Buxton lept up against the wall and made a spectacular catch to rob Frazier of a hit. Later that inning, Brett Gardner hit a solo home run to the upper deck of right field, giving New York the lead.

With a 4-3 lead, Chad Green allowed 3 Twins to reach base, leaving the bases loaded with one out for David Robertson. Byron Buxton of the Twins hit a grounder to shortstop Didi Gregorius who attempted to turn a double play. However, speedy Buxton was safe at first, allowing the runner at third to score. The score was now 4-4. David Robertson escaped the trouble by getting the third out and ending the top of the 3rd inning. Minnesota replaced Santana with reliever Jose Berrios. Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez hit a double to start the inning and then scored after a single was hit by Greg Bird. The score was now 5-4 and the Yankees had obtained the lead once again.

Robertson pitched a clean inning and the Yankees were up at bat. After Brett Gardner reached on base with a single, rookie sensation Aaron Judge slammed a line drive home run to left field. At the end of the 4th, the Yankees had a comfortable 7-4 lead over the Minnesota Twins. The storms had calmed and the pitchers on both teams threw several clean innings. In the bottom of the 7th, a Yankee run had been walked in. New York had now led 8-4. In the bottom of the 9th, the Yankees’ flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman struck out Robbie Grossman, Brian Dozier, and Jorge Polanco (after giving up a single to Joe Mauer). The game had ended.

Although the Twins’ season had come to an end, they showed great talent and improvement. As a matter of fact, the team had been the first team in Major League history to make the postseason after having 100 or more losses in the previous season.

On the other side, the New York Yankees had just won the American League East wildcard, allowing the season to continue. Their success had been brought by a strong and deep bullpen accompanied by an outstanding lineup. The team will play the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series. The team’s strong suits will definitely bring success, hopefully leading the Yanks deeper into the postseason and possibly to the World Series.

Picture from LA Times