The Yankees, top team in the Major League Baseball (MLB) American League East (ALE) clinched entry into the American League Championship Series (ALCS) this past week by sweeping the No.1 team in the American League Central (ALC), the Minnesota Twins, putting them one step closer to their first World Series since 2009.
On Oct. 4, the Yankees began a five-game series–with home advantage, as they won more games during the regular season– against the Twins with a 10-4 win. Fans felt it would be a competitive series, considering the Twins narrowly beat the Yankees for most home-runs during the regular season.
The Twins secured the first two runs of the game with solo home-run shots from Jorge Polanco in the first and Nelson Cruz in the third. Yankee Stadium noticeably went from roaring with excitement to falling silent from pure nervousness.
Going into the bottom of the third, a double from designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion scored first basemen DJ LeMahieu and brought the electric energy right back into the stadium.
While wholly asserting their dominance, the Yankees were consistent, scoring at least two runs in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
The second game of the series, played on Oct. 5, was dominated once again by the Bronx Bombers, winning 8-2. The Yanks put up seven runs in the third inning, adding onto their single run from the first inning, making the game almost boring to watch. You would think the “road-warrior” Twins (who have one of the best road records in baseball) would have been successful, but not in the Bronx.
The third game of the series on Oct. 7 was handled by Luis Severino, who gained his fourth major league start of the season, as he came off the injured list Sept. 17. During the second inning, Severino loaded the bases with no outs, while the Yankees were only up 1-0. After an infield fly and two strike-outs, Severino got the Yanks out of a huge jam for the game.
The right-handed pitcher threw 83 pitches Monday night, resulting in four scoreless innings. The Yankees maintained strength and batted toward a 5-1 win, showcasing the gold-glove caliber defense the Yankees possess against the power-hitting Twins lineup.
Two-time All-Star Gleyber Torres also had a tremendous performance during the series. With a two-run double in game one, an RBI in game two, solo home-run and a crucial grab on Eddie Rosario’s hard-hit grounder in game three, it’s safe to say the 22-year-old second basemen dominated the American League Division Series.
This is the sixth time the Twins were eliminated from the running for World Series Champion in their last seven playoff appearances. The “Yankees have defeated the Twins in 13 straight games [since 2004] in the playoffs–the longest head-to-head postseason winning streak in major league history,” according to The New York Times.
Before the Yankees learn who their ALCS opponent is, an elimination game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros must be played, and we find out the winner tonight.
The Bombers would not have home-field advantage against the Astros in the ALCS, so fingers crossed that Tampa Bay takes the win and the Yankees can avoid Astros pitchers Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, who are two of the best pitchers this season in the American League, and are up for the Cy Yang Award.
The next-man up Yankees have a chance to win the World Series for the first time in the last decade. Bombers fans everywhere are hoping for another parade through New York City’s Canyon of Heroes.