MLB LOOK AHEAD

Yankees hope facing Twins cures what ails them

Field Level Media

June 07, 2021 at 10:42 pm.

After being swept in a three-game series at Yankee Stadium by the Boston Red Sox for the first time in a decade, the slumping New York Yankees begin an eight-game road trip Tuesday night in Minneapolis against one of their favorite punching bags, the Minnesota Twins.

Left-hander Jordan Montgomery (3-1, 3.92 ERA) will get the start for New York. He is 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two career starts against Minnesota, and will be opposed by right-handed ex-Yankee Michael Pineda (3-3, 3.40 ERA).

Pineda, who had his scheduled Sunday start at Kansas City pushed back because of right forearm tightness, is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees. Manager Rocco Baldelli returned Pineda to the rotation following a successful bullpen session Sunday.

Pineda will face a Yankees team that has dropped four in a row at 10 of its past 13 games. New York went just 2-5 during what was billed as a statement homestand against East-leading Tampa Bay and the rival Red Sox. The Yankees have slipped to fourth place behind the Rays, Boston and Toronto.

“An awful week for us, culminating in the end of this homestand,” manager Aaron Boone said Sunday night after his team’s 6-5 loss to Boston in 10 innings. “We’ve got to get right.”

Playing the Twins, 11 games under .500 and tied with Detroit for last place in the Central, would seem to be the perfect anecdote.

This will be New York’s first trip to Target Field since Oct. 7, 2019, when the Yankees capped a three-game sweep of Minnesota in the American League Division Series, outscoring the Twins 23-7 in the three games.

Since 2002 New York has an eye-popping .734 winning percentage (102-37) against Minnesota.

Boone was asked if it was too early to say if his team, which ranks 26th in MLB in batting average (.228) and 27th in runs per game (3.7), is in a backs-to-the-wall position.

“Look, there’s urgency,” Boone said, “but we’re in control of our season and our destiny. Very much so, and we’ve got to take control of it.”

What needs to change?

“Well, we’ve gotta win,” said right fielder Aaron Judge, who leads Yankee regulars in home runs (14), RBIs (32), and average (.295). “I think that’s what it comes down to is just us winning.

“I sound like a broken record but keep having good at-bats, quality starts, picking each other up, big situations not trying to do too much, pass the baton.”

The Twins come in off back-to-back wins at Kansas City including a 2-1 victory on Sunday that featured a triple play.

With runners on first and second, first baseman Miguel Sano charged toward home and caught Nicky Lopez’s bunt in the air, then threw to shortstop Andrelton Simmons to double Jarrod Dyson off second base. Simmons then threw to second baseman Nick Gordon covering first base to get Cam Gallagher.

It marked the 15th triple play in team history and the first 3-6-4 triple play turned since May 31, 1980, when the Mariners did it.

“It’s a big play,” Baldelli said. “(Sano) made a nice play on the ball, he knew where to go, and we ultimately get three outs in a situation that could have ended up a little sketchy for us.”