7/12-7/14 Series Preview: Minnesota Twins

Olney: Yankees have asked about Asdrubal Cabrera "repeatedly"
2013 Draft: Yankees sign first rounder Aaron Judge

I couldn’t think of a better way to finish off the traditional first half than with three games against the Twins at Yankee Stadium. Following last week’s four-game sweep in Target Field, the Yankees have won 71 of 91 games against Minnesota during the Ron Gardenhire era. That includes the postseason and is completely ridiculous.

What Have They Done Lately?
Since getting swept by the Yankees, the Twins lost two of three to the Blue Jays and four straight to the Rays. They’ve lost their last five games and ten of their last eleven games overall. Gardenhire’s team is 37-52 with a -55 run differential, the third and fourth worst marks in the league, respectively.

At 4.1 runs per game with a team 93 wRC+, the Twins are a bit below the league average offensively. They are withing OF Josh Willingham (112 wRC+), who will miss several weeks following knee surgery. OF Darin Mastroianni (50 wRC+) and OF Wilkin Ramirez (57 wRC+) are both on the DL as well. None of the three will return in time for this series.

((Hannah Foslien/Getty))
((Hannah Foslien/Getty))

Obviously, the centerpiece here is C Joe Mauer (138 wRC+), who remains one of baseball’s great pure hitters. 1B Justin Morneau (102 wRC+) doesn’t have the same power he once did, and C/OF/DH Ryan Doumit (90 wRC+) isn’t having a great year. 3B Trevor Plouffe (107 wRC+) and OF Oswaldo Arcia (104 wRC+) have been productive though. OF Clete Thomas has had his moments as well (95 wRC+ in limited time).

There’s not much to see on the rest of he roster. IF Brian Dozier (92 wRC+) get regular reps at second base and IF Pedro Florimon (65 wRC+) is the starting shortstop. IF Jamey Carroll (46 wRC+) and IF Eduardo Escobar (62 wRC+) are the seldom-used reserves. OF Aaron Hicks (71 wRC+) was banged up the last two times these teams played but has since returned to the lineup full-time.

Starting Pitching Matchups

Friday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda vs. LHP Scott Diamond
Diamond, 26, has become a rotation mainstay after being plucked from the Braves in the Rule 5 Draft a few years ago. He’s got a 5.52 ERA (5.08 FIP) in 16 starts with classic Twins peripherals, meaning a low strikeout rate (4.30 K/9 and 11.1 K%), a low walk-rate (2.15 BB/9 and 5.5 BB%), a high homer rate (1.53 HR/9 and 14.4% HR/FB), and a solid ground ball rate (46.8%). Diamond sits in the upper-80s with his four-seamer and in the low-80s with his curveball and changeup. The Yankees scored three runs in 6.2 innings off the southpaw two weeks ago.

Deduno. (Jason Miller/Getty)
Deduno. (Jason Miller/Getty)

Saturday: RHP Phil Hughes vs. RHP Samuel Deduno
The 30-year-old Deduno was a star for the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic and has been pretty good for the Twins in nine starts (3.90 ERA and 4.13 FIP). He’s a big-time ground ball guy (61.1%) who doesn’t miss bats (4.55 K/9 and 11.9 K%) but will limit walks (2.77 BB/9 and 7.2 BB%) and homers (0.65 HR/9 and 10.5% HR/FB). Deduno’s bread-and-butter is his low-90s four-seamer, but he also throws low-90s cutters, low-80s curveballs, and low-80s changeups. You might remember all those ground balls he induced from the Yankees the last time these two clubs met, when he held New York to three runs in six innings.

Sunday: LHP CC Sabathia vs. RHP Kyle Gibson
This will be the 25-year-old Gibson’s fourth career big league start, and in the first three he owns a 7.27 ERA but a 3.12 FIP. He hasn’t struck many batters out (5.19 K/9 and 12.8 K%) but he has gotten grounders (54.1%) and kept the walks to a minimum (2.60 BB/9 and 6.4 BB%). Gibson has yet to allow a homer. He is a three-fastball guy, with upper-80s two-seamers, four-seamers, and cutters setting up a mid-70s slider and rarely used low-80s changeup. The Yankees punished Gibson for eight runs in 5.2 innings two starts ago.


Fien. ( Hannah Foslien/Getty)
Fien. ( Hannah Foslien/Getty)

Bullpen Status
The Twins and Rays played a 12-inning game on Wednesday that wrecked the Minnesota bullpen. Closer LHP Glen Perkins (1.84 FIP) is fresh, but LHP Brian Duensing (3.10 FIP), RHP Casey Fien (2.88 FIP), and RHP Josh Roenicke (5.10 FIP) have each appeared in two of the last three games. RHP Jared Burton (3.73 FIP), RHP Anthony Swarzak (3.40 FIP), RHP Ryan Pressly (3.21 FIP), and RHP Michael Tonkin (1.57 FIP in very limited time) round out the eight-man bullpen.

The Yankees are in fine bullpen shape heading into the weekend; no workload concerns here. With the All-Star break coming up, I’m sure Joe Girardi won’t have any trouble using guys a little more than normal. Three days in a row, maybe four or five outs instead of three, stuff like that. Our Bullpen Workload page has all the details. Twinkie Town and Aaron Gleeman are my Twins blogs of choice.

Olney: Yankees have asked about Asdrubal Cabrera "repeatedly"
2013 Draft: Yankees sign first rounder Aaron Judge
  • The Bastard

    Seriously, when do they pull Hughes from the rotation? For all of the chatter about Nova vs. Hughes, Nova has put up two starts better than Hughes ever has. Look it up.

    And with Phelps and Warren, the Yankees need to develop other starting pitchers. Hughes has no future in this organization.

    • gc

      I’d take Phil Hughes in the rotation right now over Andy Pettitte. Unless Hughes gets traded, I don’t see them pulling him from the rotation.

      • Kosmo

        Hughes has pitched extremely well in 9 of his 17 starts. I believe he´s gotten 4 NDs in four well pitched games. His splits are better on the road. He´s just so damn inconsistent. With the return of Phelps after the AS game NY will have to part with 1 pitcher . Who will it be Claiborne, Joba or Hughes?

        • Must Have Teh Puig!!!!

          My assumption would be Joba (traded) or Claiborne (AAA), but keeping Joba over Claiborne makes no sense.

          • jsbrendog

            King adds that Joba Chamberlain’s trade stock is falling, and the Phillies “have questions about what is perceived as the reliever’s immaturity,” King says. In addition, one team that was previously interested in Chamberlain told King that they don’t plan to make an offer for him because it’s believed that the Yankees could eventually release him.


            • Fin

              I certainly agree Joba is a candidate for release. However, I still think they end up trading him because several teams seem to be interested which means someone isn’t going to want to take a chance with being back of the line in a waiver claim. He wont bring anything back but a salary dump or org filer, so it really doesn’t matter either way.

        • gc

          Hughes has actually allowed 2 runs or less in 10 of his 17 starts this year. Of course, as you say, he’s gotten smacked around in some of his other starts and he is inconsistent, but there you go.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            So when you average it out he’s a mediocre pitcher at best. But pulling a perfectly acceptable 5th starter makes sense only if you guaranteed to have someone better.

            When Pineda comes kick his ass out but for now he’s not killing the team as the 5th starter.

  • Kramerica Industries

    Fucking 2002 Angels prevented the Yankees from being five for five against the Twins in playoff series’.

  • trr

    There is no reason on heaven or earth why we shouldn’t sweep this series….LET’S GET IT DONE!

  • Must Have Teh Puig!!!!

    I’m excited to see how Hughes pitches. He is the obvious trade chip, but Pettitte’s issues can’t be ignored either.

    Overall I’m looking for 2 out of 3. I never predict sweeps.

    • Kramerica Industries

      I expected a 5-2 homestand. This is actually why I didn’t flip out after the first two losses to KC – I decided to take a week-long perspective rather than a series-by-series perspective this time. As long as 5-2 was attainable, I was fine.

      And I still am. No reason why the Yankees shouldn’t punish a team like the Twins here. Minnesota is absolutely terrible, and they have been especially terrible for YEARS against the AL East, and even MORE terrible against the Yankees.

      So, yeah. I expect Sweep City this weekend.

      • Carl

        Not this week but if only we swept the Baltimore Orioles! Two more outs!

  • MB923

    Jack Curry just said that Cashman will discuss Jeter’s MRI later this afternoon. That is not good news.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Read Chad’s most recent post. More optimistic tea reading there.

  • Bo Knows

    You’d think the Twins would realize that their philosophy of pitching only to contact and not attempting to strike guys out sucks. Like with anything if you swing to much in one direction you should expect bad results.

  • Chris Z.

    I went to twinkee town and this was the major thing they want us to all know:

    “•Idle side note: When Derek Jeter retires, will the Twins present him with a gift, a la Mariano Rivera? I’m trying to figure out what the gift should be. Maybe a case of Crystal Pepsi, in honor of his fielding, which is also way overhyped given how awful it truly is. ”

    Little harsh no? Jeter isn’t an “awful” fielder. His range sucks, not his ability to play the position. Sounds like the crying of a team who hasn’t won a series in New York in 12 seasons! Yea i said it….12 freaking years!

    • Winter

      Frankly, Jeter is an awful fielder. It’s his bat that has kept him around and made him a Hall-of-Famer. He is the fourth worst all-time among SS for UZR/150 (admittedly, UZR only exists for more recent players). He has also cost his team the most runs all-time on defense for a SS. Although that is largely a product of his long career, he’s still a pretty terrible fielder. He has only had one year in his entire career when he’s been an above-average fielder. Over the course of his career he’s cost the team 91 runs (!!) because of his range.

      • Carl

        What about that play in Oakland where he saved the series for us! Or that diving play against Oakland? Range is only one part of the game and honestly as a Statistician myself statistics can lie and boy do they ever lie!

  • Wheels

    Jeter isn’t in the lineup today.

    • Wheels


      • Wheels

        and this weekend.

  • EndlessJose

    Waiting to here the words “day to day” and “inflammation” which never works out for us.

    Hopefully the tests come back clean. Because knowing Cashman he will keep throwing injured players until they fall apart like Teixeira.

  • fred robbins

    I wish someone would actually call Girardi out on his every day, never ending praise for the other teams after he loses 3-1 or something like that… Guthrie on KC had given up 13 runs in his last 15 innings, but there goes Joey G saying how great he was that night and how hard the Yankees are trying and what great at bats they are having. It is truly sickening.
    And is there no one in the front office to have the courage to talk about rebuilding this team instead of grabbing one washed up player after another or now an injured asdrubal Cabrera? The Yankees seem to need a whole new team.
    As far as pitching– they have maybe a good Nova– and a downhill CC for next year.. what else?
    As far as infield– they need a shortstop, 3rd baseman, and it would be nice to get a 1st baseman who can hit to all fields and not strike out or hit weak ground balls to second base most of the time.
    As far as outfield? What do they have? No leftfielder, no right fielder and I guess, Brett Gardner as your center fielder….
    what say ye out there?

    • Rolling Doughnut

      What do you want him to say? How about: “They fuckin’ suck and we still couldn’t beat them”. That’s not the way it works. The postgame is ridiculous bullshit anyway.

  • Rolling Doughnut

    I agree that this year’s digging up of the dead was a desperate act of a FO that had made some pretty bad moves –the Tex and ARod contacts, among other things, and why can’t they seem to develop any players other than pitchers? (And even there, Jobber and Phil have not panned out, but that could no have been foreseen). In short, I think they’ve figured out they have to rebuild the team. But again, what do you want them to say?