It’s the anticipation of postseason baseball in the Bronx kicking off Friday night as the Yankees host the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series.
October is the best sports month of the year, and playoff baseball is the main reason why. Every pitch, every inning, every situation means so much.
The sometimes sluggish pace of the regular season only heightens the drama this time of the year.
For the New York Yankees, 2019 has already been a special season on so many fronts.
The team won the American League East for the first time in seven years, and Aaron Boone guided the Yankees to back-to-back 100-win seasons, becoming the first manager to do so in his first two years in the big leagues.
The team has survived countless and, quite frankly, neverending trips to the injured list.
In the regular season, the Yankees delivered in a way that would leave most fans content regardless of how October shakes out.
However, that’s not the way things work around here, especially in Yankees Land.
This Yankees group has experienced the drama of postseason baseball. Two years ago, they made it all the way to Game 7 of the ALCS, only to lose to the eventual champions in the Houston Astros.
Last season, the Yankees watched the Boston Red Sox celebrate on their field as they went on their way to the 2018 title.
This group has experienced failures, and the free ride is over from a good majority of the fan base.
If the Yankees don’t make it back to the World Series, this season will be considered a bust. By no means will it be easy.
The Minnesota Twins led all of baseball in home runs. Not only can they hit the long ball, they’re tough to strike out and won over 100 games in the American League Central.
The Twins lineup will challenge Yankees pitching.
Will the likes of James Paxton, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka find a way to keep the Twins in check and hand the ball to the Yankees bullpen with a lead?
Offensively, will a lineup that looks and feels far more balanced than it did a season ago find a way to deliver that big base hit with runners on and match the power of Minnesota?
Considering how entertaining the regular season matchups were between these two teams, I expect a very entertaining back-and-forth series.
It won’t be easy, and the road only gets harder with potentially Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, ZacK Grienke and the rest of the big bad Astros waiting in the wings.
As for the Twins series, I’ll take the Yankees in five.
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