Weak in the knees, the Twins faced the Yankees for the first time this season and even with the best record in baseball they crumbled as they always do against New York.
The opening sentence in the New York Post gamer is spot-on: "Perhaps nothing solves the Yankees’ problems more than a visit from the Twins."
Minnesota had the best record in baseball entering the game while the Yankees have been mauled by injuries. There was no Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton or Didi Gregorious, and ace left-hander James Paxton departed after three innings with soreness in his knee.
Still, the Yankees used the Twins as a personal punching bag.
These statistics about the Twins facing the Yankees are staggering.
- Twins are 35-96 against the Yankees since 2002, including the playoffs.
- Twins have lost 8 straight at Yankee Stadium, and 13 of 14 overall.
- Twins are 14-51 in the Bronx since 2002, including the playoffs.
What stings more about Friday's loss is that the Twins couldn't put it all together against a club that has 13 players on the injured list – not mentioned above are starters Miguel Andújar, Troy Tulowitzki, Aaron Hicks and D.J. LeMahieu – and had yet to beat a team with a winning record.
Not only that, but the typically reliable defense didn't show up. Byron Buxton couldn't handle a soft bloop on the first play of the game, C.J. Cron dropped a routine throw at first base, and Kyle Gibson let loose a wild pitch. The trio of mistakes all led to runs.
At the plate, Minnesota was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, left the bases loaded twice and had just two hits through seven innings before Nelson Cruz slugged a two-run homer, his sixth of the season.
A ray of hope comes from manager Rocco Baldelli, who after years with the Tampa Bay Rays wasn't aware of New York's dominance over the Twins.
“I didn’t know that until you just mentioned it,” Baldelli said before the game when asked about it. “I wasn’t even thinking about it, and truthfully, I’d probably like to keep it that way.”
Jake Odorizzi, who is coming off seven shutout innings against Houston in his last start, will take the mound for Saturday's noon game. Odorizzi took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Yankees last September at Target Field. He'll be opposed by lefty J.A. Happ, who is also coming off seven scoreless innings in his last start.