July 7, 2009

Yankees-Twins series preview

The Yankees (48-34) stand one game back in the AL East and hold a 2.5 game lead in the wild card race with just six road games left before the All-Star break. The Twins (43-40) host the Yankees for a three-game series this week, and then the Yankees will travel to L.A. for a weekend set with the Angels.

Like the Yankees, the Twins are pretty hot. They just beat the division leader Tigers in a series, and have won their previous three series as well. They did lose 10-game winner Kevin Slowey to the DL recently, but he hasn’t been their only good starter.

The Yanks swept the Twins back in May in the beginning of their long winning streak, but the margin of victory was minimal. The Yanks took the first three games of the series on walk-off hits, and then edged out the fourth game by one run.

Pitching Matchups:

Date Yankees starters Twins starters
Tuesday CC Sabathia (7-5, 3.85) Scott Baker (6-6, 4.99)
Wednesday A.J. Burnett (7-4, 3.83) Glen Perkins (4-4, 4.38)
Thursday TBA Anthony Swarzak (2-2, 3.90)

Sabathia had one of his worst starts of the season last time out against the Mariners, but could get right back on track with another quality outing. Baker has won both games he started in his career against the Yanks with a 1.50 ERA.

Burnett is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball and will be a tough matchup for the Twins in game two. He’s 3-1 with a 0.98 ERA and averaging over eight K’s per game. Perkins pitched well last time out, but has had a terrible history against the Yanks in the past.

The top two candidates to start game three for the Yankees are Alfredo Aceves (I lean towards him) and Sergio Mitre. Instead of Slowey, the Yanks will face rookie Swarzak. Usually pitchers like him will slow the Yankees down, but I hope not.

The Twins are a solid team and cannot be taken lightly. Their M&M boys in the middle of their lineup might be the best duo in baseball. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau would have cost the Yanks the series in their last meeting if it weren’t for some late-inning heroics.

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