After salvaging the last game of a three game series in Toronto yesterday, the Twins will start a four game series in New York tonight. It is no secret that Yankee Stadium (both old and new), has been a house of horrors for the Twins for almost a decade. It will be the first time the two have met since New York swept the Twins out of the playoffs. Since 2003, the Twins are 0-9 against the Yankees in the playoffs. They did snap a 10 game regular season losing streak against them last year when Jason Kubel homered off Mariano Rivera in Yankee Stadium, but have lost 11 of their last 13 against the Yankees in regular season play.
Scott Baker will take to the mound tonight against Ivan Nova. It will be both starters first outing of the season. Baker was strong down the stretch last year (12-9, 4.49 ERA) and helped the Twins win the AL Central. He went 5-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his last 10 starts but did lose at Yankee Stadium on May 14, giving up 10 hits and five runs in an 8-4 defeat. Most Twins fans may not know Nova but they will soon. he was one of New York’s best pitchers this spring. He had a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings, with nine strikeouts and four walks. If the Twins go in and hit the way they did in the first two games at Toronto, he may end up looking a like a Cy Young pitcher by the end of the night. Baker also had a strong spring coming off elbow surgery. He had a 2.66 ERA in 23 2/3 innings this spring, with 20 strikeouts and five walks.
Mark Teixiera, who is normally a slow starter has gotten off to a very fast start. He has homered in each of the Yankees first three games and will be looking to break Dave Winfield’s 1983 streak to start a season tonight. Justin Morneau finally got his first hit of the season yesterday. He was 0-9 going into the at bat but singled on a broken bat hit.
It’s no secret that the Twins have a tough task ahead of them the next four days. Obviously it’s extremely early in the season and no time to panic, but Ron Gardenhire and his team do not want to head home with a 1-6 record. I think looking for a split in the series is realistic and should provide the Twins a good boost of confidence heading into their Target Field opening series against the Oakland A’s. Heading home with a 3-4 record would not be a bad thing after this opening road trip. Below are the pitching matchups for all four games along with the Twins line-up for tonight’s game.
Apr 4, 2011 MIN (Baker) @ NYY (Nova) 6:05 PM CT
Apr 5, 2011 MIN (Duensing) @ NYY (Sabathia) 6:05 PM CT
Apr 6, 2011 MIN (Pavano) @ NYY (Garcia) 6:05 PM CT
Apr 7, 2011 MIN (Liriano) @ NYY (Burnett) 12:05 PM CT
Line-up for April 4th, 2011:
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Jason Kubel, DH
7. Michael Cuddyer, RF
8. Danny Valencia, 3B
9. Alexi Casilla, SS
Starting pitcher: RH Scott Baker
Yankee Stadium. First pitch: 6:05 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network