On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, I started off the show by talking about the New York Yankees (41-42) and their recent five-game losing streak. The Yankees’ offense managed to score only seven runs while being swept at home by the Tampa Bay Rays. For the Bronx Bombers, it is their team’s longest losing streak of the season. The one big problem for the Yankees wasn’t the starting pitching, which as a whole, gave three solid efforts in this series. It was the lack of clutch hitting for New York, as they had just two hits in 25 at-bats with runners in scoring position in the series.
The Yankees will be making a roster change on Thursday with Zelous Wheeler being called-up from Scranton-Wilkes Barre and Yangervis Solarte heading to Triple-A. With the slate of home games officially over for the Yankees until after the All-Star Break, the team will now head on a long 11-game road trip, starting at Target Field, a place where some of the Yankees’ players will be back at on July 15th for the All-Star Game. However, this weekend, New York will look to right the ship against a team that they’ve historically played well against over the years, but struggled in defeating at Yankee Stadium earlier this year.
The Minnesota Twins (38-45) are in a recent slide of their own. The team has lost seven of its last nine games and are coming off of a series against the Kansas City Royals where they scored 10 runs in a win, but had just one combined run in their two losses. Despite the addition of Kendrys Morales back in June, the offense has struggled as they hit .245 as a team so far the season. Morales has only one home run on the season up to this point. On Wednesday, it was announced that first baseman Joe Mauer would be placed on the disabled list with an oblique injury. It is rough timing for an injury for Mauer, considering he had a .362 batting average over the last two weeks. Second baseman Brian Dozier leads the team in home runs with 15, but he hasn’t hit a long ball since June 14.
As for the starting pitching, Phil Hughes will get his second start against the New York Yankees on Thursday night against Masahiro Tanaka. It has been a struggle for Hughes as of late, as he has given up five earned runs in each of his last two starts. That being said, Hughes has eight wins this seasons and a 3.58 ERA for a team that has struggled to find quality for the rest of its rotation. The other intriguing name to watch in this series for Minnesota from a pitching perspective is 26-year old Kyle Gibson, who is starting on Friday and has a 1.54 ERA in six home starts this year. Can the Twins continue their success against the Yankees that they had in the Bronx when they outscored the Yankees 14-6 while winning two out of three in the series?
For this episode, I talked to Ted Schwerzler, the co-editor of Puckett’s Pond, about the Twins’ recent struggles and the pieces that they could move before the July 31st trade deadline. We also talked about the success Eduardo Nunez has had since coming back from a hamstring injury. Here are some of the other topics that we talked about on the show:
- Is Morales a long-term option for the Twins after this season?
- Which Yankees do I think should be selected to the All-Star Game?
- Any other Twins besides Dozier that should be selected? Phil Hughes?
- Masahiro Tanaka continuing to dominate despite back-to-back losses
- Can Chase Whitley return to form on Friday against Minnesota?
- Kyle Gibson pitching on July 4th against the Yankees for the second straight season
- Yankees get their first look at Yohan Pino on Saturday
- David Phelps‘ command still an issue despite some recent success (Saturday’s Yankee Starter)
- Why Hiroki Kuroda (Sunday’s Yankee starter) is slowly becoming a reliable number two starter.
- Ricky Nolasco (Sunday’s Twins starter) struggling for quality, but has a win vs. the Yankees this year
- Twins’ Players To Watch (Ted: Chris Parmelee , Me: Kurt Suzuki and Nunez)
- Yankees’ Players To Watch (Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter)