Joe Girardi’s New York Yankees finished in second place in the AL East, with a 91-71 record on the season overall, and the Yanks wrapped up the 2017 campaign with a 51-30 mark at home in Yankee Stadium (vs 40-41 on the road).
Girardi talked in his pregame press conference this afternoon, about how it is obviously an advantage to be playing at home, as the Yankees are in tonight’s Wild Card matchup with the Minnesota Twins.
“Well, I think you think about your club, it's built for your ballpark,” Girardi explained, “and you'd rather play it at home because you're more comfortable with it.
“The infielders understand the infield more, the outfielders understand the dimensions of the outfield more. So of course you want to be at home. And hopefully that 51-30 means something today.”
Paul Molitor’s Twins finished the regular season 85-77 overall with a 44-37 road record, though they dropped three straight in Yankee Stadium earlier this month.
Molitor talked yesterday about how the team bounced back after getting swept in NY, winning seven of their last ten games to earn the right to face the Yankees tonight in the AL Wild Card Game.
“I think that part of developing men and people is that, when they endure adversity or trials, you hope that each time you go through those things that you come out better,” Molitor said.
“I think last year a lot of these guys were a part of it. Not everybody, but it was a tremendous trial.
“I think this year a lot of the things that have helped us overcome the hiccups along the way has been player leadership. I'm a big believer in that. We've had some good leaders along the way. We were fortunate enough to have Torii [Hunter] a couple of years ago and Joe [Mauer] and [Brian Dozier], people like that. But guys like Mattie Belisle, we talked about him, [Chris] Gimenez, [Jason] Castro, these guys that have seen the ups and downs and the turns that a season can take over 102 games.
“I think they've been real stabilizing for our club. And just the understanding that, when you have that many opportunities to play in our game -- I always say one of the greatest things about our game is the 162-game season and one of the hardest things about our game is the 162-game season.
“The more that you understand each day's a new opportunity, you're going to be able to stay away from the droughts, and I think the leaders in that clubhouse understand that, and they've passed it on.”
The Twins and Yankees each play their 163rd games tonight with Ervin Santana on the mound for the visiting team against Luis Severino at 8:00 PM EDT in New York.