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Tonight's AL Wild Card Game: What to Watch For

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Some have called it the most exciting night of baseball they have ever seen. Some have called it unfair to the nature of the game. And some have called it a downright dogfight to the last man standing. Tonight marks the beginning of the 2017 Playoffs and it’s going to be a hot one.

At 8 PM ET tonight, the Minnesota Twins will square off with the Yankees in Yankee stadium to see who can survive to get the opportunity to play further into the postseason. After such a grueling trek through an entire year of baseball, the feats of these men will be decided. And the victor will feat on the finest wines in the land while the loser is made to wear chicken costumes and do the Macarena for all the world to see.

Here’s what you need to be watching for tonight:

  • Starting Pitching: Ervin Santana vs. Luis Severino.

In a one game playoff, you roll your gosh darn best starter out there. No sense in leaving the season on the line with your top arm sitting on the bench (see 2016 Orioles for reference). Ervin Santana this year was plenty good. He was 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA so betting on a guy who wins 2 out of every 3 decisions he is a part of aint so bad. He’s always had the stuff but will he command it in the right parts of the zone tonight? Well, if his 2-2 record and 5.56 ERA career postseason numbers are any indication of future behaviors, things might not come out too hot for him. And with Luis Severino opposing him, thinks may be even bleaker. Severino had a 14-6 record this year with a 2.98 ERA. Aaaaand he throws 100 miles per every hour. So, we’re going to call out beginner’s luck and give the edge to Severino. We’re expecting a strong performance out of both guys here, though, and a pitcher’s duel overall in the game.

  • Which head coach will be more German?

Both of the managers involved in today’s game feature last names of German descent. With a few quick Google searches, it is very simple to tell who has the more German name. Gardenhire is an – it pains us to say this – Americanized version of a family name used back in Germany. Minus points for Ron. In the other dugout, Girardi’s last name holds true to pure Germanic 7th Century origins (although it can be French, too, but let us live a little). Girardi wins here, clearly. But the actions of these two managers are what truly define their German-ness. Girardi wears sunglasses and everyone knows a true German hates sunglasses. And, going back to the Twins leader, Gardenhire has been known to shout profane language in German when a game is going poorly for his club, harkening back to his ancestral roots. For this reason, the edge here goes to the Twinkies.

  • Power vs. Finesse

It will be interesting to watch these two clubs in particular duke it out for the particular reasons of their styles of play. The Yankees are, for lack of a better term, anger junkies. They like hitting and throwing the ball really hard. Aaron Judge, owner of 7 of the 10 best exit velocities for the 2017 campaign, is the most notable of the offensive group. Gary Sanchez trails with his own prolific power from the right side, making these two members of the Yankee lineup potent all by themselves. On the pitching side, the story is much the same. The first two that jump out in our minds are Severino and Chapman, although there are some others. Then, there are the Twins who prefer a much different style. They run the show with hitting for average, team speed, pitching as a group, and defending. Mauer, the King of Taking Pitches, is a prime example of the Twin’s diplomacy. And Buxton is a defensive star posting the most 4 or 5 star catches in Statcast this year. We won’t leave out Lindor either, who is plenty dynamic. These two very different types of baseball could make for a really interesting battle as the Yanks try to rage their way into the rest of the playoffs while the Twins let the game come to them.

  • Which team has eaten more carrots in the past week?

Now, as we all know, the myth about carrots being great for eyesight is absolutely true. Have you ever been able to catch a wild rabbit? Yeah, us neither, because they always see you so easily and just run away and stuff. So annoying. Anyway, what does this have to do with baseball? Well, according to the professional baseball analyzing skills of Harold Reynolds, he claims “I would try to eat a whole carrot cake the night before every game. And then I would wash it down with a carrot smoothie. Breakfast? Carrot omelet. Problem is that I could never get my hands on enough carrots and carrot based foods most days so I wouldn’t get as many hits as I wanted to. Just couldn’t see the ball well enough. I would have been way better if there were more carrots around.” That’s all the evidence we need, folks. The guy is such a good analyst.

Cut the crap, blog writer guy. Just tell me who is going to win.

Okayyyy, fineeee, easyyyyy. No need to get irrational here.

Here’s the deal. Baseball is a fickle game. A one game playoff can be decided by one pitch or one play. Baseball is a game of the utmost respectability and we must always keep in mind that the players on the field are young men of proud origins. Betting against them would be a dishonor to their family names and ourselves.

Haha, just kidding, Yankees suck! Go Twins! Wooo!

Edit: It's 8:49. So much for the pitcher's duel we mentioned.


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