NEW YORK – The New York Yankees have enjoyed a one-sided postseason rivalry with the Minnesota Twins over the years, a trend they hope to continue when the teams begin the American League Division Series with Game 1 at Yankee Stadium on Friday. The Yankees are 13-2 against the Twins in the playoffs since 2003, claiming four division series and the 2017 Wild Card Game, and Minnesota has lost 13 straight playoff games overall, although some in New York don't see any correlation to this year's matchup.
TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, MLB Network
"I think that's silly," Yankees manager Aaron Boone told the media. "We know what they have and if we don't execute, you are in trouble against that team. It comes down to, we have to go play our best. If we do that, we'll take our chances." The Twins already won a season-long struggle with New York for the all-time team home run record in the majors, swatting three on the final day to finish with 307 - one more than the Yankees. New York claimed four of six regular-season meetings, including two of three at Minnesota in July in a thrilling series that saw the teams combine for 20 home runs and 57 runs. James Paxton, who left his last start of the regular season with a glute issue, will start Game 1 for the Yankees opposite Twins ace Jose Berrios.
Twins RH Jose Berrios (14-8, 3.68 ERA) vs. Yankees LH James Paxton (15-6, 3.82)
Berrios won his final three decisions in the regular season to finish with 14 victories for the second time in his three full seasons. He lasted three innings out of the bullpen while giving up three runs in the Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium in 2017, and the 25-year-old is 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA in two career starts in the Bronx. Aaron Judge is 3-for-5 with a double against Berrios while Didi Gregorius is 3-for-6 with a home run and a double.
Paxton's early departure last Friday in Texas ended his run of 10 straights wins, a remarkable stretch in which he posted a 2.25 ERA. The 30-year-old, who lasted only three innings in his one start against the Twins in May before exiting with a knee injury, is making his postseason debut. He was 7-3 with a 3.35 ERA at Yankee Stadium this year, holding opponents to a .211 average and recording 97 strikeouts over 78 innings.
1. Yankees LHP CC Sabathia, who has been bothered by knee and shoulder issues, will be left off the ALDS roster when the team releases it Friday. DH Edwin Encarnacion (oblique) is expected to be active and see his first action since Sept. 12.
2. Twins INF-OF Luis Arraez (.334 in 92 games during the regular season), has made progress in his recovery from a sprained ankle and might make the ALDS roster.
3. Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday at 5:07 p.m. ET. RHP Masahiro Tanaka will start for New York while Minnesota is expected to go with RHP Jake Odorizzi.
PREDICTION: Yankees 5, Twins 4