The last time the Yankees took the first two games from the Twins, they also held a 3-1 lead heading into the eighth inning. Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera, the guys who represent one of the better endgames in baseball, blew the lead, and even though the Yankees had three chances with the tying run on base they couldn’t finish the job against Jon Rauch. Tonight the’ll get a chance to complete the sweep they couldn’t last time.
Of course, the Twins will look for atonement of their own. They’re currently 1-4 against the Yankees this season after going winless last year. They came close last night, but Andy Pettitte put the kibosh on that one. Tonight represents their last chance.
Nick Blackburn will be the guy for the Twins. He went seven innings last time against the Yanks, allowing three runs. The Yanks had chances, as they put 10 men on base, nine on hits. Blackburn, a goundball kinda guy, had trouble in that regard, allowing 18 balls in the air (15 fly balls and 3 line drives) to 10 on the ground. Overall Blackburn is experiencing his worst season to date, a 4.50 ERA against a 5.31 FIP.
Javy Vazquez gets a chance to continue righting his ship. In his last three appearance he has allowed just two runs in 13.1 innings, striking out 14 to just four walks. Opponents have hit the ball on a line just 14 percent of the time in that span, a good sign for Vazquez. The Minnesota offense, featuring some heavy hitting lefties, will be his biggest test since the revival.
And on the mound, number thirty-one, Javier Vazquez.