The AL Wild Card game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins brings together two teams without any recent playoff success, but with very different standards and expectations, as well as a very one-sided record in the postseason head-to-head between them.
The Twins and Yankees have played four playoff series since 2003. All four of them were in the ALDS, all four were won by the Yankees, including two 3-game sweeps in their last two postseason encounters. Their most recent playoff encounter was in 2010, with the Yankees winning 3-0. CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte won games on the mound for the Yankees in that series, while Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher were hitting home runs. The Yankees lost in the ALCS to the Texas Rangers after six games.
For the Yankees, it’s the first playoff series since their Wild Card game loss to the Houston Astros in 2015. They haven’t played in a playoff series since 2012 (swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS). Their last World Series was in 2009, starting with a sweep of the Twins and ending with a 6-game win against the Philadelphia Phillies.
For the Twins, World Series winners in 1987 and 1991, there hasn’t been too much playoff action at all over the last 26 years. Between 2002 and 2010 the team did qualify to the playoffs six times. Only once did they win a playoff series: 2002, beating the A’s in 5 games before losing to the Angels in 5. The Twins actually won the first game of the series before dropping four in a row. They didn’t hit a single home run in that series, while players like Johan Santana and LaTroy Hawkins finished with astronomical (in a bad way) ERAs. Overall, this wild card game is the Twins first postseason appearance since their 2010 loss to the Yankees. 2017 was also only their second winning season since 2010.