The 3 reasons why the Twins lost to the Yankees in the Wild Card Game

Here's why the Twins bowed out from the playoffs.
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The Twins look on disappointment as they fell to the Yankees. 

The Twins look on disappointment as they fell to the Yankees. 

The Twins had every opportunity to defeat the New York Yankees in the American League Wild Card Game on Tuesday evening. 

When Minnesota jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, they had a 74 percent chance to win the game, according to Baseball Reference's expected winning percentage

However, the Twins couldn't hold on and the following events doomed them in their loss to the Bronx Bombers.

1. Disappointing pitching

Ervin Santana had a three-run lead to work with. He was Minnesota's ace this season, but although he was the best pitcher on the staff, Santana's performance was furthest thing from what baseball would call an "ace."

He couldn't find the strike zone and he eventually grooved one to Didi Gregorius for a three-run bomb in the first inning. He chalked up another blast to Brett Gardner in the second and was pulled from the game by the time the frame was over.

However it didn't matter who was the mound, Jose Berrios and Trevor Hildenberger didn't fare better either, each of them surrendering runs. 

They were arguably Minnesota's three best pitchers all season and when the team needed them the most, they didn't come through

Meanwhile, the Yankees pitchers were throwing darts.

2. Castro didn't come through

Jason Castro was signed during the offseason as a defensive-minded catcher and he lived up to that during the regular season.

Inheriting nearly the same pitching staff from a 103-loss campaign, Castro's pitch framing abilities paid dividends. Plus, his defensive runs saved ranked fifth among catchers this season.

But right before Gregorius' home run, Castro uncharacteristically did a poor job framing what would have been strike three, according to ESPN's K Zone.

His offense has never been anything to write home about, but he struck out twice when his team needed a clutch hit. 

He was punched out with the bases loaded in the second inning and was also fanned in sixth when Buxton was in scoring position. If Castro comes through, we're possibly talking about a different outcome.

3. Losing Buxton 

Byron Buxton wowed us with his defense in the second inning, securing an unbelievable catch, slamming against the center field wall.

Related: Watch: Byron Buxton's insane catch in the American League Wild Card Game.

Unfortunately, Buxton tweaked his back, which forced him from the game and Minnesota replaced him with rookie Zack Granite.

Granite appeared in just 40 games but was tasked with replacing the best defensive center fielder in the game.

He fared decently in the field, but he had an embarrassing miscue during the eighth inning when he completely missed the first base bag after a poor throw and was still tagged out.

Yes it was late in the game and the Twins were down four runs, but it was the icing on the cake in the loss.

Everything is going to be hyper-analyzed in a winner-take-all playoff game.

But this game does not define the Twins' 2017 season in which they bounced back from a 103-loss campaign the year before.

The players – many of them playing in their first playoff game – can take this loss and learn from it. While the front office will be tasked with making them a better team during the offseason.

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