After feasting on one of the easiest schedules in baseball, the Yankees continue this stretch of 12 straight games against winning teams tonight as they take on the Twins, who have a firm foothold on first place in the AL Central. New York is 0-5 against over-.500 clubs, compared to 17-8 against sub-.500 squads. The good news for the Yankees is that their big boppers — Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier and company — seem set to return soon, with Andujar potentially back as early as tomorrow. The bad news is that tonight, their lineup still features Mike Ford and his 97 wRC+ batting fifth.
The surprising Twins feature the major’s best offense by far, led by Jorge Polanco, who owns a 173 wRC+ while playing great defense at shortstop, and Nelson Cruz, the 38-year-old vet whose .964 OPS would be a new career high for a full season if he can keep it up. The team’s MLB-leading slugging percentage of .498 is miles ahead of the second-place Mariners at .465. They’ll be a tough test for James Paxton, who has solidified his status as an ace by striking out a combined 32 hitters and posting a 1.37 ERA over his past three starts (19.2 innings). Overall, Paxton is 3-2 on the year with 3.38 ERA.
Luke Voit — who is slashing an impressive .277/.396/.545 and has yet to miss a game — extended his MLB-leading on-base streak by homering on Wednesday, giving him 41 straight contests of reaching safely. Voit has never faced Twins starter Kyle Gibson, whose ERA of 4.88 has improved after a rough start.
Here are the lineups:
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 ET. You can watch the game on YES, MLB Network (out-of-market only), or stream via fuboTV. Let’s go Yankees!