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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Twins’

The New York Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins tonight. Phil Hughes put on one heck of a performance. Phil tossed 7 strong innings, allowing 4 hits, no runs and struck out 6 batters. The bullpen took care of the rest, and as usual, Mariano Rivera slammed the door shut. The Yankees next playoff home will be on October 18th, which is nine days from now. The ALCS starts on Friday.

Cadets From The United States Military Academy At West Point Unfurl An American Flag

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  Phil Hughes #65 Of The New York Yankees AnswersYankees (2-0) vs. Twins (0-2)

Pitching Matchup:

RHP Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19) vs LHP Brian Duensing (10-3, 2.62)

Lineup

Jeter SS
Swisher RF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Thames DH
Posada C
Granderson CF
Gardner LF 

(more…)

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Yankees (0-0) vs. Twins (0-0)

Pitching Matchup:

LHP CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18) vs LHP Francisco Liriano (14-10, 3.62) 

Lineup

Jeter SS
Swisher RF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Thames DH
Posada C
Granderson CF
Gardner LF (more…)

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On Wednesday, the real season begins: the postseason, that is. The Bombers will travel to Minneapolis to take on the Twins; first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 ET.

I realize many of you are still wondering what happened over the weekend, when the Yanks managed to lose the division (in what may be the craziest final weekend in memory) and haven’t had a chance yet to really focus on the task at hand. Most of you are probably still trying to figure out what a “Twins” might be.

The Twins finished the regular season 94-68 and won the AL Central by a very comfortable 6 games over the White Sox. Once again, Ron Gardenhire‘s crew of unknowns and cast-off’s won the division, even though most prognosticators had them pegged for no better than third place at the start of the year. During the season, the Yankees won the season series, 4-2, but these aren’t the same Twins that faced the Yankees in May. Here’s a quick breakdown on the team that will face off the with the Bombers.

Rotation:

Just like their better known opponents, the Twins face a conundrum regarding their starting rotation. Without a doubt, Francisco Liriano (14-10, 1.62 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) will get the ball in game 1, but after that it’s a crapshoot. Will game 2 go to Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.75 ERA, 1.20 WHIP), Brian Duensing (10-3, 2.62 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) or Scott Baker (12-9, 4.49 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)? The smart money is on Pavano for several reasons: one, he pitched much better at home than on the road this year and two, the last thing Gardenhire seems likely to want is to pitch Pavano in the first game at Yankee Stadium. That makes Baker the probable starter in game 3 – if Duensing can’t get two starts, his best value to the Twins is as the ace left out of the pen. The big question for the Twins, like the Yanks, is do they go with a 3- or 4-man rotation? If they opt for a four man staff, expect game 4 to go to Kevin Slowey (13-6, 4.45 ERA, 1.29 WHIP). In short, this is a righty-heavy staff facing a Yankee line-up that mauls right-handers (.796 team OPS and 118 OPS+). The Twins bullpen looks to get plenty of work in games not started by Liriano. Edge: Yankees

Bullpen:

The Twins are pretty formidable if they have a lead going into the 8th inning, with the duo of set up man Jon Rauch (3-1, 21 SV, 1.30 WHIP) and closer Matt Capps (2-0, 16 SV, 1.18 WHIP). Capps was acquired in a deadline deal with the Senators, where he posted 26 SV and a 1.30 WHIP; the 42 combined saves are the principle reason the Twins made the move. Duensing was effective out of the pen before finding himself in the rotation, posting a 1.80 ERA and holding lefty-hitters to a .162 average. The Twins also figure to lean heavily on Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier, with Jose Merias being the other left-handed option in the ‘pen. Overall, the pen is the strength of this Twins team. Then again, it was the strength of last year’s team, too. Edge: Twins

Offense:

The Twins lost Justin Morneau mid-way through the season and with him gone, the Twins lost both their starting first baseman and premier power threat. As a team, they only have four players who reached double figures in home runs and nobody hit more than 25. Despite that, they still scored 781 runs – good for fifth in the American League. This is a team that gets by on creating rallies from doubles and smart baserunning. Yankee catchers look to catch a breather, as the Twins were last in steals and attempted steals this season, averaging one attempt every two games. The attack is anchored by reigning MVP C Joe Mauer (.327, 9 HR, 75 RBI), back-from-the-dead DH Jim Thome (.283, 25, 59) and always steady RF Jason Kubel (.249, 21, 92). Perhaps their most intriguing player is LF Delmon Young. After years of waiting for Young to turn his talent into a solid season, this seems to have been his breakout year (.298, 21, 112) – even if nobody outside of the Twin Cities noticed. The question surrounding Young is, will he continue to produce in the postseason or revert to his more pedestrian career numbers (career OPS .704)? Edge: Yankees

Defense:

Defensively, the Twins are once again a solid – if unspectacular – team. They ranked 2nd in the AL in fielding percentage, but overall, they’re range is not exceptional. In other words, they make the plays on the balls they get to – they just don’t get to as many balls as you would expect from a top-flight defense. This is a team that needs to play sound fundamentals – because they lack the ability to overcome errors with the great play (and the pitching staff, other than Liriano, lacks the ability to pick up their teammates with a strikeout). Edge: Yankees

Manager:

Gardenhire is consistently recognized as one of the game’s best managers, and with good reason. Every season, he brings a small market, mid-budget team that project to somewhere around 85 wins, figures out a way to win an extra 5-10 games a year and delvers Minnesota to the post-season. Once they get there, the Twins tend to get sent back home. But it’s not the manager’s fault. Edge: Twins

Other notes:

The Twins are opening their first post-season at Target Field, which figures to be not really cold for Wednesday’s opener (forecast: 63 degrees at first pitch). The Twins learned their new park pretty quickly. Mauer may complain about the stadium robbing home runs with its dimensions, but the Twins were still 53-28 at home. The +12 differential between home and away wins is the largest spread for any of the eight playoff teams.

Projection:

Once again, the Twins make the playoffs – and once again, they exit early with their hearts broken. On paper, they seem to match up well with the Yankees, and if this were a nine game series, the added depth in their rotation would probably be their greatest asset. But this is a five game series and the off days mean the Yanks don’t need to entrust a start to either AJ Burnett or Javier Vazquez. The Yankees superior front three and line-up depth should make this one Yankees in 4.

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A couple of Yankees fans were pestering Kim Jones during one of her sideline report segments during the game. I guess they were just looking to get on television. One of the crazed fans actually took a bite out of Kim’s porkchop on a stick. Sick? Yes. It was hilarious though.

(Photo Courtesy of @iracane on Twitter)

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Yankees (28-18) at Twins (26-19)

Pitching Matchup

RHP Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.69) vs RHP Nick Blackburn (5-1, 4.50)

Lineup

Jeter SS
Gardner CF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Miranda DH
Cervelli C
Russo LF (more…)

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Yankees (27-18) at Twins (26-19)

Pitching Matchup

LHP Andy Pettitte (5-1, 2.68 ERA) vs LHP Francisco Liriano (4-3, 3.25)

Lineup

Jeter SS
Swisher RF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Thames DH
Cervelli C
Russo LF
Gardner CF (more…)

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Yankees (26-18) at Twins (26-18)

Pitching Matchup

*D-Rob to start the 6th inning* RHP A.J. Burnett (4-2, 3.86) vs RHP Scott Baker (4-4, 4.88)

Lineup

Jeter SS
Gardner CF
Teixeira DH
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Miranda 1B
Cervelli C
Russo LF (more…)

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Tonight’s game between the Yankees and Twins at Target Field was suspended. The game will resume tomorrow at 5:05PM ET. The regularly scheduled game will be played after this game is completed.

 From Left, Umpire Chris Guccione #68, Phil Cuzzi #10 And Crew Chief Brian O'Nora Speak With Head Grounds

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Yankees (26-18) at Twins (26-18)

Pitching Matchup

RHP A.J. Burnett (4-2, 3.86) vs RHP Scott Baker (4-4, 4.88)

Lineup

Jeter SS
Gardner CF
Teixeira DH
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Miranda 1B
Cervelli C
Russo LF (more…)

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After going 2-5 over the last week, the Yankees have finally taken a day off and go to Minnesota tonight to start a three game series against a foe that they typically do well against. Lets hope for positive results!

AJ Burnett (4-2, 3.86) vs Scott Baker (4-4, 4.88)

After a thrashing at the hands of the Rays, AJ looks to turn around his little streak of bad luck against a team he is typically good against. In his career, AJ has gone 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA against the Twins. In his last start, he earned a no decision over 6.2 innings of 3 run ball. Opposing him is Scott Baker who hasn’t had a great track record against the boys from the Bronx. Career wise he has hit 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA. Last time out he took the loss allowing 10 hits and 5 runs.

Andy Pettitte (5-1, 2.68) vs Francisco Liriano (4-3, 3.25)

I am going out a limb and saying that this game will be the best, at least pitching wise. The old veteran, Andy Pettitte brings his 10-5 record and 3.53 ERA against the Twins to face Francisco Liriano, a man looking to continue the upward path of his career. Previously this year Pettitte pitched 6.1 innings of 2 hit baseball en route to a win over the Twinkies. Liriano, in only 4 games, brings in a 0-2 record and a 3.32 ERA against the Yanks. Earlier this year, Liriano allowed 3 runs on 9 hits in a loss.

Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.69) vs Nick Blackburn (5-1, 4.50)

Javy Vazquez, coming in off 2 good starts, brings an ugly track record to Target Field. Luckily for him, he hasn’t pitched there, but his luck against the Twins isn’t that great. Career wise he is 6-6 with a 5.11 ERA and hasn’t pitched against them since 2008. Blackburn hasn’t had much success against the Yankees either going 1-1 with an ERA of 5.33 over 5 games.

What to look out for: The last two games of the Subway Series showed that the Yankees offense, is in fact, not dead. While there may be a few slumping hitters, not all are slumping, which is good. So, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees score a few times and possibly early since the Yankees won’t be facing premium pitchers in two out of the three games.

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The Yankees continue their road trip, as they head to Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota to face the Twinkies. They will open up a three-game series tonight. Here are the pitching probables for the series:

Tue: RHP A.J. Burnett (4-2, 3.86) vs RHP Scott Baker (4-4, 4.88)

Wed: LHP Andy Pettitte (5-1, 2.68) vs LHP Francisco Liriano (4-3, 4.25)

Thurs: RHP Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.69) vs RHP Nick Blackburn (5-1, 4.50)

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