Game 1: Jose Berrios vs. Luis Severino
Jose Berrios has been the unquestioned ace for the Minnesota Twins since he started living up to his expectations back in 2017. His potential is higher than anyone else on the staff and his best starts are better than any other Twins pitcher. He was in the middle of a pretty strong year, going 13-8 with a 3.70 ERA and 186 strikeouts, but his August was bad (7.62 ERA), but his September (4.31 ERA) has been a little better.
Berrios is dominant at his best and has been elite against some of the Yankees’ best hitters. Edwin Encarnacion, Aaron Hicks, DJ LeMahieu, Gary Sánchez, and Giancarlo Stanton all have career batting averages of below .225 against the starter. His last playoff start against the Yankees in the playoffs didn’t go as planned, but the team is better now and Berrios will likely get the nod.
From the Yankees side, Luis Severino will likely be the man against the Twins. Severino has missed most of the year with shoulder and lat issues. The Yankees took their time bringing him back and he has been dominant in two starts since returning, with nine scoreless innings and 13 K’s. He is the top New York pitcher, especially with Domingo German suspended the rest of the way.
Severino has not been good against the Twins in the past, taking the loss in his last start against the Twins and giving up 3 runs in one-third of an inning in the 2017 Wild Card Game. Nelson Cruz and Max Kepler also have been fantastic against Severino, with a .455 combined BA against him.
Berrios has struggled recently, but has been really good against the Yankees. The opposite is the case for Severino. He struggles often against the Twins, meaning the Twins get a slight advantage.