MLB: New York-Minnesota play 1-1/2 games Wednesday
The New York Yankees have only one win in their last six games, but they'll have the opportunity to pick up two victories Wednesday. After New York's first game at Target Field was suspended due to rain, the Yankees and Minnesota Twins will pick up their series opener in the sixth inning before continuing the three-game set with a full game in the evening. In the full second game on tonight's set, Sportsbook.com shows Minnesota as a -114 home favorite.
Although the Twins (26-18,+2.7 units) were rained out May 7 against Baltimore, Tuesday marked the first time there was a mid-game delay at their new stadium, which opened this year after the team spent 28 seasons playing inside the Metrodome. "You can't do anything about it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Mother Nature decided to water her plants."
The game was suspended because it was still scoreless when it was stopped after five innings. The bullpens will have to take over after New York's A.J. Burnett and Minnesota's Scott Baker each allowed three hits.
The Yankees (26-18,+0.8) were especially in need of strong starting pitching after their staff posted a 5.54 ERA while the team dropped five of its last six. Manager Joe Girardi may have preferred to keep playing. "I didn't think it was raining too hard to play," Girardi said.
The Twins have also been scuffling, dropping four of six overall, but they're 14-7 at home this year and 116-69 over the last three seasons, and maintain a 1 1/2-game lead on second-place Detroit in the AL Central. They're hoping to harness some momentum from their last game against New York, a 6-3 win at Yankee Stadium on May 16 that was punctuated by Jason Kubel's go-ahead grand slam off Mariano Rivera
Prior to that game, the Twins had lost 12 straight to New York, including a three-game sweep in last year's AL division series. The Yankees have won their last four in Minneapolis and have exceptional 53-25 record in the second game of a series.
After the completion of the suspended game, both teams will look for bounce-back efforts from left-handers as Francisco Liriano and Andy Pettitte square off.
Liriano (4-3, 3.25 ERA, 1.272 WHIP) won four straight starts from April 15-May 2, but he'll be trying to avoid a fourth straight defeat since that stretch. His shortest outing of the season came Thursday night at Boston, where he gave up five runs - including two home runs - in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-2 defeat. The Twins are 1-6 when Liriano starts against teams with winning records.
While Liriano was better against the Yankees on May 15, yielding three runs in six innings, he still fell to 0-2 in his career against New York because he was outdueled by Pettitte.
Pettitte (5-1, 2.68, 1.252) allowed two hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the 7-1 win, remaining unbeaten at the time, but he finally suffered his first loss of 2010 on Friday night against Tampa Bay. The Rays launched three homers off Pettitte, who gave up seven runs - six earned - in five-plus innings in the 8-6 defeat.
Pettitte is 10-5 with a 3.53 ERA in 20 career starts against Minnesota, and he may have been unhappy to see the Twins leave the Metrodome. He went 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA in his final six starts there. The veteran lefty is 18-6 UNDER in road night games the last three seasons.
Sportsbook.com has Minnesota as a -114 money line favorite and the Twins thrive in this spot. The Twins are 14-2 when the ML is -100 to -150 this season, including perfect 9-0 at Target Field. With the total Un9, the Yankees are comfortable they can counter having Pettitte on the hill, since this combination is 26-9 when the total is 8.5 to 10 the previous three years.
This AL showdown will be on ESPN2 just after 7:00 Eastern with the Twinkies 38-16 as favorites. The StatFox Power Line shows Yankees -110