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Weekend MLB Series Preview: New York Yankees Vs. Minnesota Twins
Friday Pitchers: Michael Pineda (9-6, 3.77 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (8-6, 4.15 ERA)
The Dominican giant makes his first ever start against the Twins on Friday night. Pineda is aiming for his first full season since his rookie year in 2011 and has been impressive over 18 starts so far in 2014. Pineda’s has 113 strikeouts in 112.1 innings, mainly due to his ferocious fastball.
Phil Hughes was an All-Star as a Yankees and a CY Young finalist in his first season as a Minnesota Twin, but 2015 is mostly about getting the Twins to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Hughes has some of best control in the majors, having walked just 28 batters over the past 333 innings. Hughes' biggest issue this season has been the long ball, as he currently leads the majors in home runs given up and he faces a Yankee team that ranks third in the Majors in homers.
Probable Pitchers for Saturday's Game: C.C Sabathia (4-8, 5.25 ERA) vs. Tommy Milone (5-2, 3.38 ERA)
Sabathia’s tenure as the Yankees ace has been over for a few years now, but after the former CY Young winner turned 35 a few days ago it may be time to start questioning whether he is worth a spot in the starting rotation. His most troubling areas are his WHIP and ERA, both being considerably higher now compared to his first few seasons as a Yankee. Sabathia still is averaging around 6 innings a start, but the Yankees are going to need more than that to keep their AL East lead and make any noise in the playoffs.
Milone has a pleasant surprise for the Twins so far in 2015. After a brief stint on the DL, Milone came back and posted 6 consecutive quality starts, going 3-0 before the All-Star break. Milone may not be the most feared pitcher in the league, but he is one of the reasons the Twins are exceeding expectations in 2015.
Probable Pitchers for Sunday's Game: Nathan Eovaldi (9-2, 4.43 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (8-7, 3.19 ERA)
Eovaldi’s 9-2 record may be a little deceiving as he has struggled in most other pitching categories since joining the Yankees this offseason. With a good amount of run support over the majority of his wins, Eovaldi’s record masks his mediocre WHIP of 1.505 and below average ERA and strikeout rate.
Another pitcher helping the Twins stay in one of the two AL Wildcard spots is Kyle Gibson. Gibson’s impressive ERA and record can be attributed to his ability to induce groundballs and creating double plays, whilst giving up home runs at a low rate.
Something to Watch...
2B Brian Dozier (Minnesota) and DH Alex Rodriguez (New York)
Each player can have the argument made that they are their team’s best hitter in 2015. Dozier made his first All-Star in 2015 and has 50 extra base hits already this season. Dozier has an excellent mix of speed and power and most teams in the AL would love to have him patrolling the center of the infield every day. Rodriguez has taken the Majors by storm in his comeback season. While he will likely hear his fair share of boos this weekend his strong play at the plate has made it easy for him to ignore the noise. Rodriquez is on pace for his fifteenth 30-plus home run season and recently joined the illustrious 3000 hit club.
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