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Minnesota Twins II: First Time Ever I Saw Your Place
Posted By Cliff Corcoran On May 25, 2010 @ 7:00 pm In Cliff Corcoran,Series Preview | Comments Disabled
If the regular season ended today, the Yankees and Twins would meet in the Division Series for the second year in a row and fourth time in the last eight years. This week’s three game set in Minneapolis, the Yankees’ first visit to the new Target Field, will conclude the season series between the two teams, but there’s a very good chance that they will meet again come October.
The Yankees took two of three from the Twins in the Bronx the weekend before last, but have gone 2-5 against the Red Sox, Rays, and Mets since. The Twins have gone 3-4, splitting a two-game set with the Blue Jays, dropping two games in Boston, then returning home to take two of three from the Brewers. The Twins scored 31 runs in the three wins, but just nine runs in the four losses.
Target Field has been a happy home for the Twinks thus far as they are 14-7 (.667) at home against just 12-11 on the road. Here are the runs-scored splits for the Twins and their opponents at and away from Target Field:
@MIN: Twins 5.43 R/G; Opp 3.67 R/G; total: 9.10 R/G
Road: Twins 4.60 R/G; Opp 4.39 R/G; total: 8.99 R/G
Baseball-Reference’s park factors list Target Field as a slight hitter’s park (103/102). The total runs per game numbers above, which lack any adjustment for strength of opposition or road park factors, seem to agree with that.
The only change the Twins have made since the Yankees last saw them is that they called up Trevor Plouffe and installed him at shortstop. Plouffe was the Twins’ first round pick in 2004, but he isn’t a great defender and has hit just .259/.321/.391 in the minors. He’s simply a place-holder for the injured J.J. Hardy (wrist), who could return during this series.
Tonight A.J. Burnett, who has pitched poorly in two of his last three starts, the exception being a quality start against the Twins in which he walked four and got a no-decision, goes up against Scott Baker. Baker was the losing pitcher in that game against Burnett despite striking out nine Yankees in six innings against just one walk.
Baker actually left that game with a 4-3 lead in the seventh, but he bequeathed a couple of runners to his bullpen, both of whom scored on Alex Rodriguez’s grand slam off Matt Guerrier later that inning. That game, with those two runners added to Baker’s tally, was the only one of his four starts in May in which he allowed more than three runs. On the month, he has averaged more than 6 2/3 innings per starts and has struck out 27 men in 27 innings against just four walks.
With Baker starting tonight, Francisco Liriano starting Wednesday, and Javy Vazquez testing out his bruised finger on Thursday, all in a ballpark that has been very friendly to its new tenants, the Yankees will be hard pressed to pull out of their current skid this week.
2010 Record: 26-18 (.591)
2010 Pythagorean Record: 26-18 (.591)
Manager: Ron Gardenhire
General Manager: Bill Smith
Home Ballpark: Target Field
Baseball-Reference Park Factors: 103/102
Who Has Replaced Whom:
1B – Justin Morneau (L)
2B – Orlando Hudson (S)
SS – Trevor Plouffe (R)
3B – Nick Punto (S)
C – Joe Mauer (L)
RF – Michael Cuddyer (R)
CF – Denard Span (L)
LF – Delmon Young (R)
DH – Jason Kubel (L)
L – Jim Thome (OF)
S – Alexi Casilla (IF)
R – Brendan Harris (IF)
R – Drew Butera (C)
L – Francisco Liriano
R – Scott Baker
R – Nick Blackburn
R – Kevin Slowey
R – Carl Pavano
R – Jon Rauch
R – Matt Guerrier
L – Jose Mijares
R – Jesse Crain
L – Ron Mahay
L – Brian Deunsing
R – Alex Burnett
SS – J.J. Hardy (wrist contusion)
C – Jose Morales (wrist surgery)
RHP – Pat Neshek (right middle finger inflammation)
RHP – Clay Condrey (elbow strain)
RHP – Joe Nathan (Tommy John surgery)
L – Denard Span (CF)
S – Orlando Hudson (2B)
L – Joe Mauer (C)
L – Justin Morneau (1B)
R – Michael Cuddyer (RF)
L – Jim Thome (DH)
R – Delmon Young (LF)
R – Trevor Plouffe (SS)
S – Nick Punto (3B)
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