Series Preview: Yankees @ Twins
William Perlman-The Star-Ledger
The Yankees are not that good at least so far. It’s been very difficult to even watch this team. They need to get going fast, and with the Twins struggling to get to .500, the Bombers MUST take advantage of them and take at least 3 of 4. Anything less would be a major disappointment.
Probable Pitching Match-ups
Yankees @ Twins
Masahiro Tanaka Thursday, July 3rd: 8:10 pm EST Phil Hughes
Chase Whitley Friday, July 4th: 3:10 pm EST Kyle Gibson
David Phelps Saturday, July 5th: 2:10 pm EST Yohan Pino
Hiroki Kuroda Sunday, July 6th: 2:10 pm EST Ricky Nolasco
Who’s Hot?: Joe Mauer and Chris Parmelee are on fire right now. In the last week, Mauer is hitting at a .348 clip while driving in six runs. Parmelee has done even better and is arguably the hottest hitter in baseball right now. In the same span, the outfielder is hitting .500 picking up 12 hits in 24 at-bats but somehow just one RBI. Regardless, to go 12 for his last 24 is very impressive. Unfortunately for the Twins, and luckily for the Yankees, Mauer is now on disabled list with an oblique injury.
For the Yankees, two fan favorites have been trying to pick up the slack for this lifeless offence. They are Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner. The captain over the last week is hitting over .300 with a double and three RBI. Gardner is also hitting over .300 and showing some pop going yard twice and driving in five.
Who’s Not?: Sam Fuld and Brian Dozier on the other hand have been terrible at best. Fuld, in his last seven games, is hitting below .200 with no power and just two runs batted in. Dozier has managed to be worse over the stretch. The power hitting second baseman has just one hit in 20 at-bats which translates to an ugly .040 average and not even one ribbie..
*What To Watch For*
Masahiro Tanaka will get it started against Phil Hughes. If the Yankees are to win the series, having Tanaka start the first game is big. In his only start against them, Tanaka gave up no runs on four hits over 8 beautiful innings. He will look to continue that trend.
After back-to-back awful stars, Chase Whitley needs to turn things around against Minnesota. The youngster has faced the Twins before ad in just five innings, he pitched pretty well giving up one run on five hits. The Yankees hope he can duplicate that performance.
David Phelps gets the nod for the third game of the series. Phelps actually owns the Twins to this point. Among the eight Twin hitters to face him, none have put up good numbers against him. In 24 combined at-bats, they posted just three hits for a .125 average.
The final game of the long weekend series will be Hiroki Kuroda who absolutely dominated the Rays last start but unfortunately for him, the Yankees cannot hit. Just like with Phelps, Minnesota’s line-up has not done much with Kuroda. The 39 year-old has held the Twin’s offence (nine players) to a .220 average with 11 hits in 50 at-bats. The Yankees pitching needs to step up and now if ever is the time to do that.