First Pitch: 4:07 pm CDT
Now that the record has been set — 14 consecutive postseason losses — it’s time to shake things up a bit.
Enter Randy Dobnak. Much has been made of the 24-year-old righty, who was still driving for Uber earlier this year, and now possesses the franchise’s best facial hair since Carl Pavano. In just under 30 major-league innings (five starts), Dobnak has a 1.59 ERA and surrendered just a single homer.
Let’s take a closer look at those starts. Two of them saw Dobnak begin the game as the opener, pitching two or fewer frames before giving way to the rest of the pen. But the newlywed closed out his season with three straight “traditional” starts — and combined for 16.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, and 13 K. Last time he took the mound, he only allowed one hit.
Per Captain Rocco, the decision to hand the ball to rookie Dobnak instead of All-Star Jake Odorizzi has everything to do with location, location, location — the idea being that Dobnak’s 5.3% HR/FB will play better at Yankee Stadium than Odo’s mark of 8.8%. Odo will have the ball on Monday when the series moves to Minneapolis.
It’s the kind of decision that could wind up paying dividends for the Twins. Dobnak barely has any major-league experience, but the Yankees have never seen him. (Few teams have.) Devin Smeltzer had an impressive major-league debut against the playoff-bound Brewers earlier this season; perhaps Dobnak can muster some of that energy to twirl a gem tonight in the Bronx.
Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball for New York. After an All-Star first half, it’s been a second-half swoon for the 30-year-old. Since June 29th, Tanaka sports a tattered 5.89 ERA, though his September performances produced a more reasonable 4.32 mark. He, too, has not squared up with the Twins this season, having last faced Minnesota in a 14-1 Yankee win last April.
|Max Kepler - CF||DJ LeMahieu - 1B|
|Jorge Polanco - SS||Aaron Judge - RF|
|Nelson Cruz - DH||Brett Gardner - CF|
|Eddie Rosario - RF||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Mitch Garver - C||Giancarlo Stanton - LF|
|Luis Arraez - 2B||Gleyber Torres - 2B|
|Miguel Sano - 3B||Gary Sanchez - C|
|Marwin Gonzalez - 1B||Didi Gregorius - SS|
|Jake Cave - LF||Gio Urshela - 3B|
Aaron Boone’s Yankees have made no changes to their lineup after racking up double-digits in the series opener. Meanwhile, Rocco Baldelli has swung Max Kepler back into the leadoff spot, and swapped out C.J. Cron in favor of Jake Cave.
GO TWINS GO!