Featured Post

Offense bails out bullpen as Yankees beat Orioles 10-8

The Yankees’ offense pounded Orioles’ pitching for ten runs on Friday, and the excess of runs was the key to the win as David Robertson, Jonathan Loaisiga, and A.J. Cole combined to allow six runs in relief. Despite the near collapse, the Yankees sealed the deal in the ninth as Betances picked up his fourth save of the season in the 10-8 victory.

Series Preview: New York Yankees vs Minnesota Twins (4/23-4/26)

With their first matchup since the infamous 2017 Wildcard game, the New York Yankees (11-9) will take on the Minnesota Twins (8-8) for a four-game series starting Monday night. The Yankees are coming off their best series of the season, winning three out of the four games against second place Toronto.  Minnesota has lost four out of their last five on a current nine game road stint*, including getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays.

*Two of the games were “home” games, but played in San Juan, PR.
Photo Credit: NYT



Game 1: Monday, April 23rd, First Pitch: 7:05pm
Masahiro Tanaka (2-2, 6.45)  vs. Jake Odorizzi (1-1, 3.38 ERA)
TV: YES

Going for the Yankees, will be Masahiro Tanaka who has displayed what a difference two starts can make.  In his first two starts, it appeared like playoff Tanaka was back.  However, a chilly night in Boston, (one in which he got the win) it looked like he was cruising until he gave up an RBI double, and then a grand slam. What was supposed to be an easy victory, became strain for the bullpen, and a poor start for Tanaka.  Looking to bounce back from that start, he faced one of the worst teams in baseball, in the Miami Marlins. He gave up eight hits and seven runs in only five innings of work.  If the Yankees are going to pull out a win in the series opener, they need quality starts out of their penciled in number two starter.
 
Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac | Getty Images
Batters to watch out for:
Brian Dozier: 5-14, .357, 1 2B
Eduardo Escobar: 6-13, .462, 1 2B, 1 RBI

For the Twins, the game one starter in no stranger to the Yankees.  For the past five seasons, the Bombers have seen him plenty of times during his tenure with Tampa. In his first four starts this season, he has been up and down, with his recent start against Cleveland being a down. He only lasted five innings, throwing 97 pitches, allowing six hits, four runs; three of which were home runs. Yankee hitters will look to send more balls into the seats via Odorizzi.

Batters to watch out for:
Aaron Judge: 2-5, .400, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Gary Sanchez: 2-7, .286, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB

Game 2: Tuesday April 24th, First Pitch: 6:35pm
CC Sabathia (0-0, 2.70)  vs. Jose Berrios (2-1, 1.63 ERA)
TV: YES

Coming off his first start from the DL, CC and the Yankees will be looking for him to go deeper into this game against the Twins.  Twins hitters have had a hard time against CC for the past two seasons.  He has only allowed three runs on 12 hits during his 12 innings of work against them in 2016 and 2017. 

Batter to watch out for Minnesota:
Miguel Sano: 2-6, .333, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Minnesota will counter CC, with their ace Jose Berrios.  So far in the 2018 season, he has only one poor start(4.2 IP, five runs), while boasting a 1.63 ERA(10th in AL), and a 0.58 WHIP(1st in AL).  However, with the exception of his first start, his past two games(one relief appearance) against the Bombers, including the 2017 Wild Card game, he has struggled.  In those two games, he has pitched six and a third innings, while surrendering 10 hits, six runs, and four walks.  The Yankees will hope to keep up their success off one of the best pitchers of the 2018 season thus far.

Batters to watch out for:
Aaron Judge: 2-3, .667, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Brett Gardner: 5-8, .625, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 R

Game 3: Wednesday, April 25th, First Pitch: 6:35pm
Sonny Gray (1-1, 8.27)  vs. Lance Lynn (0-1, 6.00 ERA)
TV: YES

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
It hasn’t been sunny in the Bronx. In fact, it has been pretty much dreary so far in 2018.  He has only averaged four IP, which has taken its toll on the bullpen.  He has had only one start in which he exceeded four innings, his only quality start of the season, going six innings, and only allowing three runs.  Sonny is supposed to be an important piece for this pitching staff, and has not delivered. Helping his cause will be the fact he is facing Lance Lynn, who has also not fared well this season.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Batters to watch out for Minnesota:
Jason Castro:  4-11, .364, 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 BB.
Brian Dozier: 4-11, .364, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB

Lance Lynn will get the ball for Twins.  This season he has struggled with control(15 walks in three starts), and has given up 10 runs in 15 innings of work this season.  He will be facing a Yankees lineup that is well disciplined at the plate, and will make him work in order to get them out.  This game will come down to which offense puts up the most runs off of this night’s respective struggling starters.

Batters to watch out for:
Giancarlo Stanton: 5-17, .294, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Neil Walker: 15-40, .375, 3 HR, 4 2B, 3 3B, 6 BB

Game 4: Thursday, April 26th, First Pitch: 1:05pm
Jordan Montgomery (2-0, 3.80)  vs. Kyle Gibson (1-1, 4.29 ERA)
TV: YES

Hoping to build on his momentum from his last two starts, Gumby will take the hill for the Yankees as he looks to not only build on his recent streak, but also get redemption against the Twins. In his rookie season, he only faced Minnesota once, allowing six runs in six innings of work. This has been to date, his worst start as a major leaguer. However, he is not the same pitcher as he was in that July 19th outing.  He currently ranks sixth in MLB since 2017 in opponent batting average with RISP .207. In his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays, batters went 2-11 with RISP, only allowing one run.

Batters to watch out for:
Miguel Sano: 1-3, 3 R, HR
Ehire Adrianza: 2-3, 2B
Brian Dozier: 1-2, 2B, BB

This should be a favorable matchup not only because of Monty, but also because of who he is opposing for Minnesota.  Kyle Gibson is not someone to be intimidated by.  He has lived up to his reputation as a poor starter thus far, with an ERA of 4.29, and only averaging five innings per start.  His last two starts in particular have not been good. He has combined to go only 10.2 innings while allowing nine runs.  This could be the perfect send off for the Bombers before they fly out to the west coast to take on Ohtani, Trout, and the rest of the surging Los Angeles Angels.

Batter to watch out for:
Brett Gardner: 3-9, .333, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 BB

Players to Watch

Yankees:

Miguel Andujar
Has there been anyone hotter on this ball club than Miguel Andujar? With the injury of Brandon Drury, the Yankees were forced to call up Miggy earlier than expected.  We all knew he had the bat, but the glove was another story.  So far, he has held his own defensively, and has made several nice plays on the diamond.  The bat sure hasn’t disappointed, as he has gone 11-20 (including 4-4 yesterday), batting .550 with two HR, two 2B, and  seven RBI in his last seven games.
 
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Didi Gregorius
I guess the only player hotter than Miggy is Sir Didi, but he has been the Yankees offensive MVP, with Judge being a close second.  In his last seven games, he has gone 8-21, batting .381, three HR, seven RBI, four BB, and one 2B.  With all the attention on Stanton being the cleanup hitter, Didi is picking up the slack big time.

Gleyber Torres
The best Yankees prospect, and one of MLB’s top prospects, finally made his grand debut Sunday against the Blue Jays.  He did not register a hit, but did manage to earn himself a walk in four at bats on Sunday.  Will this series see his first hit? First home run? Against a mediocre Twins staff, it can indeed happen.

Twins

Max Kepler
Max is off to a very hot start this season. He is batting .288 for the season, and .388 in his last seven games.  The lefty has four home runs this season, so this could spell trouble vs the Yankee right handers in this series.

Brian Dozier
One of the most under the radar guys in baseball, Brian Dozier is off to another good start.  He has feasted off the Yankee starters in this series, with plus numbers against all of them with the exception of CC.  Dozier is batting .310 this season (.346 last seven), and has four home runs, but none in his last 26 AB. 

Conclusion:

Both teams coming into this season were predicted to be playoff hopefuls. The Yankees have gotten out to a cold start, but have seemed to be heating up along with the weather.  However, while starting out strong, weather delays, and a poor stretch of baseball lately have the Twins in a funk with their starting CF, Byron Buxton, put on the 10-day DL.  This is an excellent opportunity for the Yankee offense to do some damage, as three out of the four Twins’ starters haven’t given them length, and their bullpen has shown signs of weakness

Article by: Andrew Rohloff

Comments