The Twins bullpen struggled in the spotlight
Coming into the series, manager Rocco Baldelli was confident about his bullpen. While the Yankees had a powerful end of game combo that led them to 103 wins on the season, the Twins had a group that had improved throughout the season and was looking to take another step forward in the postseason.
"“Right now, I think we have one of the best bullpens that I’ve ever seen,” Baldelli told reporters on Tuesday. “The way we’ve been throwing the ball in the second half has been astounding. There’s a confidence in this group that when you give this group a lead, they’re going to bring home a win. The confidence this group has in this bullpen is intensely high and that’s great to see.”"
While the bullpen wasn’t handed a lead in Game 1, they were handed the task of keeping the Yankees at bay to get an advantage on the scoreboard. That just didn’t happen on Friday night.
After Berrios was pulled after four stressful innings, the postseason debut of Littell did not go well as he allowed two runners on base immediately which would set up the Yankees’ go-ahead scores in the fifth inning.
As the game went along, the Twins also got an ineffective performance from Cody Stashak, who allowed solo home runs to LeMahieu and Gardner. The coup de grace to all of this was the performance of Kyle Gibson, who seems to be on the playoff roster as a lifetime achievement award after giving up three runs in the top of the seventh inning, which blew the game open.
In total, the Twins bullpen gave up seven runs in six innings on Friday night, which is a number that will need to improve as the series goes along.