Both Luis Severino of the New York Yankees and Ervin Santana of the Minnesota Twins were terrible.
Severino lasted 29 pitches. He recorded only one out in the top of the first inning and left the mound with his team trailing 3-0 and runners on second and third. Santana wasn't much better for Minnesota, allowing four earned runs over only two innings.
Nope, this one was decided by the bullpens, and New York's relief corps came through with 8.2 innings of one-run ball in an 8-4 Yankees victory.
Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge homered for New York, but two of the players who had the biggest say in the outcome of this game were two relievers the Yankees acquired from the White Sox in July -- David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.
The two right-handers combined for 5.2 innings of scoreless ball and six strikeouts. Robertson entered in an unfamiliar role -- he came on in the third inning with the Yankees leading 4-3. The Twins had the bases loaded with one out. Robertson allowed only one of the inherited runners to score -- when Byron Buxton narrowly beat out a potential inning-ending double play ball.
The former Sox closer then held the Twins at bay until there were two outs in the sixth inning, during which time the Yankees built a 7-4 lead against the Minnesota bullpen.
Kahnle then came in and retired all seven of the Twins hitters he faced to get New York through eight innings with a lead. Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth, and the Yankees are in the ALDS to face the Cleveland Indians.
Robertson picked up the win, and the 3.1 innings pitched is a new career high for him. He has been a terrific midseason acquisition for the Yankees. In 30 regular-season games, he pitched 35 innings, struck out 51 batters and went 5-0 with a 1.03 ERA and 0.743 WHIP. He did not allow a run in 15 September innings, and carried over his lights-out pitching into the wild card game.
The July trade with the Sox has paid immediate dividends for the Yankees. If not for Robertson and Kahnle, perhaps their season would be over today.
We can only hope that the prospects the Sox got from New York in that trade -- outfielders Blake Rutherford and Tito Polo and pitcher Ian Clarkin -- can one day come through in the clutch in a future big game on the South Side of Chicago.