Twins look for rare road win vs. Yankees
Even with a rash of injuries, the New York Yankees own a 17-13 respectable record.
However, all of their wins came against teams currently sporting losing records. The Yankees will face an uptick in competition Friday night when they host the Minnesota Twins (19-10) in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees' first month of the season was defined by the missing names and how they managed to keep winning. Still, New York is 0-5 against opponents with winning records.
The Yankees return home to start a stretch of 13 out of the next 16 games against teams with winning marks. They were swept in a three-game series at Houston from April 8-10 and then lost two straight low-scoring games in Arizona to conclude a 6-3 trip, finishing with a 3-2 defeat Wednesday.
Through last weekend, New York had won 11 of 13 games and averaged 6.3 runs per game even as Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier joined Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar and Luis Severino on the injured list. Then against the Diamondbacks, they scored three times total in two games while mustering 12 hits and going 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
"Wins are hard to come by," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "You have to play well to do it. Obviously, with our situation, we've got a lot of guys do a lot of really good things to help us win games. Over time, that'll work itself out."
One of those guys doing a lot of good things for the Yankees is Luke Voit, whose on-base streak dating back to last season reached 41 games when he hit his ninth homer Wednesday. Voit batted .389 (14-for-36) on the trip and totaled five homers and 11 RBIs.
Including the 2017 wild-card game, Minnesota has lost eight straight games in the Bronx and 13 of its past 14 road games against the Yankees.
This year, however, the Twins are off to a great start, and they have won six of their past seven overall. They are coming off winning three of four against the Astros in Minneapolis, capped by an 8-2 victory Thursday.
"We're just going to try to keep going what we have going right now," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "But did we think we might hit a fair amount of home runs? You think it's possible, but it doesn't mean it adds up to wins. Empty home runs and things like that don't necessarily matter as much. It's the quality of the at-bats as a whole."
Minnesota ranks second in the American League with 52 homers. The Twins have seven players with at least five homers.
James Paxton (3-2, 3.38 ERA) will open the series for the Yankees. He won his past two home outings against Boston and Kansas City impressively, striking out 24 hitters in 14 scoreless innings. Paxton pitched once on the just-concluded trip, giving up three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings during a victory at San Francisco on April 26.
Paxton is 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA in five career starts against Minnesota.
Kyle Gibson (2-0, 4.88 ERA) will start for the Twins, hoping to reverse his history against the Yankees. Gibson is 1-5 with a 6.85 ERA in eight career starts vs. New York.
Gibson has won his past five decisions since losing to the Yankees on Sept. 10, 2018 in Minnesota. He last pitched on Sunday in a 4-1 win over Baltimore, when he allowed one run on three hits in seven innings.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 3, 2019