Well, yesterday sure was fun, wasn’t it? Neither Saturday, nor Sunday will have as many games – we only get the American League games Saturday and then the National League games on Sunday – but hopefully we can get the same kind of games we saw on Friday afternoon and evening.

The Twins vs Yankees Match Up

Minnesota Twins (101-61) vs New York Yankees (103-59)

The Yankees enter the weekend holding a 1-0 series lead after their win on Friday night. After falling behind 2-0 the Yankees scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 3rd to take the lead. The Twins briefly tied things up in the 5th, but the Yankees then scored multiple runs in the bottom of the 5th, 6th, and 7th to put the game away.

Stat Comparison Rankings

This match up is pretty close in every single way. Offensively they were right there with the Astros as the clear three best hitting teams in the American League. On the pitching side of things the Yankees and Twins were similar in most areas, though the Twins had a slight edge when it comes to run prevention.

The Pitching Match Up

Randy Dobnak (2-1, 1.59 ERA, 28.1 IP, 1 HR, 5 BB, 23 K)

The Twins are turning to rookie right-hander Randy Dobnak. The 24-year-old has made five total Major League starts, and he’s pitched in four games as a reliever. The entirety of his Major League career spans 28.1 innings. They’ve been good innings, though, allowing just 5 earned runs while giving up just 1 home run thanks to a 53% ground ball rate.

The small sample size of his career in the Majors has him dominating left-handed hitters, who had a .414 OPS against him in 59 plate appearances. Right-handed hitters had a .786 OPS against him this season in 59 plate appearances. On the road in 16.0 innings he posted a 0.56 ERA with 2 walks and 13 strikeouts.

Masahio Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA, 182 IP, 28 HR, 40 BB, 149 K)

An All-Star this season, Masahiro Tanaka had a season that was a tale of two halves. In the first half he posted a 3.86 ERA in 18 starts. The second half saw his ERA jump up to 5.26 in 13 starts and 1 relief appearance. Hitters had a .281/.312/.487 line against him in that second half.

Right-handed hitters struggle against Tanaka. They hit just .237/.270/.393 against him on the season. Lefties, though, had plenty of success. They hit .285/.331/.508 against him. He had a much better season at home than on the road. In New York he had a 3.10 ERA in 98.2 innings. On the road he posted a 6.05 ERA in 83.1 innings.

Game Information

Start time: 5:07pm

Television/Radio: FS1/ESPN Radio

The Rays vs Astros Match Up

Tampa Bay Rays (96-66) vs Houston Astros (107-55)

The Astros hold a 1-0 lead in the series after Justin Verlander shut down and shut out the Rays offense for 7.0 innings, striking out 8 batters on Friday. The offense got things going in the 5th, dropping a 4-spot and adding 2 runs in the 7th to put the game away.

Stat Comparison Rankings

So, uh, the Astros are really, really good. The only stat they weren’t among the best in the league at was steals. They led the lead in average, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, OPS+, ERA+, walks, strikeout rate, and WHIP. On paper, he series shouldn’t be close. But in short series weird things can happen. And the Rays offense may not match up across the board with the Astros, but for as good as the Houston pitching is – the Rays are right there with them.

The Starting Pitching Match Up

Blake Snell (6-8, 4.29 ERA, 107 IP, 14 HR, 40 BB, 147 K)

The reigning American League Cy Young winner had a bit of a down season, but mostly because he was coming off of a 1.89 ERA the year before. His ERA+ was 104 – slightly better than the league average. A 100 point jump in BABIP will do a whole lot to jump an ERA.

In 2019 he dominated right-handed hitters, holding them to a .222/.300/.362 line on the year. Left-handed hitters rarely faced him – racking up just 74 plate appearances, but they crushed it as they hit .329/.365/.529 against him. He also showed rather big home and road spltis. His 5.82 ERA on the road in 51.0 innings wasn’t great, while at home he posted a 2.89 ERA in 56.0 innings.

Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA, 212.1 IP 29 HR, 48 BB, 326 K)

Three hundred and twenty six strikeouts. Say whaaaaaaaaat?! To say that Gerrit Cole is about to get paid is an understatement. The likely Cy Young Award winner this year has dominated all season as he led the league in ERA, strikeouts, and ERA+ while throwing over 200 innings.

With a stat line like he had you wouldn’t expect splits that big. And as you expected, they aren’t here. Both lefties and righties hit under .200 against him and both had an OPS under .600 against him. On the home and road side of things the splits weren’t really there, either. At home he posted a 2.63 ERA in 113.0 innings. On the road his ERA was 2.36 in 99.1 innings.

Game Information

Start time: 9:07pm

Television/Radio: FS1/ESPN Radio

2 Responses

  1. TR

    It doesn’t look good for the Twins and Rays. The Stros/NYY series should be a good one.

  2. Doug Gray

    It is, unfortunately.

    The amount of time put in to getting these ready just didn’t work out for how often it was actually opened yesterday, which was less than 100 times. Unfortunately it just seems that most people don’t care to talk about the playoff games.