The New York Yankees did, uh, not begin their four-game series with the Minnesota Twins the way they wanted to. Instead, wunderkind Jhony Brito surrendered seven earned runs in the top of the first inning, before Colten Brewer entered and completed the picture, allowing two more solo shots before escaping the frame.
If they're going to bounce back on Friday, stalwart starter Nestor Cortes Jr. is going to have to both perform up to speed and provide some length.
Thursday originally looked like a bullpen catastrophe, but by the end of the night, things weren't quite as bad as they could've been. No one from the Circle of Trust appeared in the game, thanks in large part to Ian Hamilton's three innings of relief and Isiah Kiner-Falefa taking the ball in the ninth.
Hell, even Albert Abreu's fresh. If I'd told you that in the first inning Thursday, you would've looked at me like I was insane (and I was, I was about to cheer IKF pitching).
Hopefully, the Yankees bounce back in this one and Kiner-Falefa's attempted sticky stuff check officially goes down as "hilarious," rather than as "the lowest point of the season".
Yankees Lineup for Friday, April 14 vs Twins
Yankees Pitching Probables for Friday, April 14 vs Twins
Kiner-Falefa's 38 MPH eephus pitch was the type of one-of-a-kind pitching feat that even a wild man like Cortes wouldn't dare to try. Still, let's see what he comes up with; the Yankees' whirling dervish is 2-0 on the season, striking out eight men in 10.1 innings, alongside a 2.61 ERA.
On the mound for the Twins is youngster Louie Varland, who made his MLB debut last year at Yankee Stadium in the first game of a September doubleheader. Eventually, the Yankees came back and won that game, but Varland was solid, allowing two runs (including a solo homer to Aaron Judge) and striking out seven.
Initially, veteran Kenta Maeda was supposed to pitch this game, but the Twins have skipped him to limit his workload and prevent further arm fatigue in the wake of his Tommy John rehab.