Last week was a flawless one for the Yankees as they went 6-0, sweeping two home series against the Angels and Tigers. Considering that the Angels have been struggling mightily lately and the Tigers aren’t great in general, the next couple days should feature some stiffer competition. The Yankees are hitting the road as they head to Minnesota to take on the Twins.
Minnesota has opened up a 4.5-game lead in the AL East, as they feature a very solid lineup headlined by Byron Buxton. The next couple days will also be a reunion with former Yankees Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela (who Estevão will discuss later today), as they’ll face off against them for the first time since the offseason trade that brought Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to New York.*
*Also, Ben Rortvedt was theoretically involved in this trade, but it is unclear if that man truly exists.
Ahead of the matchup of division leaders kicking off tonight, let’s take a look at the pitching matchups we’ll see over the next couple days.
Tuesday: Jameson Taillon vs. TBD (7:40 PM ET)
The off day on Monday has allowed the Yankees to alter the rotation a little bit. Taillon and Wednesday’s starter Nestor Cortes both last pitched on Thursday as part of a doubleheader. Cortes pitched the first, and would’ve gone tonight had they followed that schedule. However, maybe with an eye on Cortes’ innings count, Taillon is going in the series opener instead. He is coming off one hell of start in the second game of that doubleheader, as he took a perfect game into the eighth inning.
The Twins played a doubleheader themselves last week and between that and the fact their rotation is dealing with injuries, they haven’t yet named a starter for tonight. One potential option is right-hander Cole Sands, who got a spot start in the doubleheader they played last week. He’s allowed seven runs on nine hits and four walks in eight innings of work, so he’s not exactly an ideal option.
Wednesday: Nestor Cortes vs. Chris Archer (7:40 PM ET)
Cortes will be going in the second game of the series, looking to continue his incredible run. He’s been excellent pretty much all season, but he’s been especially excellent in his last five starts. In those last five games, he’s gone at least seven innings in four of them, and has a 1.27 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 35.1 innings, with the Yankees picking up wins all five times.
Nestor’s opponent in Wednesday’s game will be an old Yankees AL East foe in Chris Archer. Despite him spending last year with the Rays, they really haven’t seen him much in a couple years. The only time he faced the Yankees last year, Archer got hurt after just 2.1 innings. Other than that quick outing, he hasn’t faced the Yankees since April 2018. He has solid numbers against the Yankees for his career, but it’s been so long since they’ve truly faced him.
Thursday: Gerrit Cole vs. Dylan Bundy (7:40 PM ET)
The night after Taillon’s perfect-game bid, Cole had one of his own, throwing 6.2 flawless frames. Since that infamously bad start in Detroit, Gerrit Cole has been, well, Gerrit Cole. Since April 24th, he has a 2.03 ERA and 1.73 FIP in 53.1 innings, holding hitters to a .494 OPS. He was very solid in the two starts he made last year against the Twins. Those games were fairly eventful last year, although the reason for that is now on his team.
Speaking of eventful games against the Yankees in 2021: hey, it’s Dylan Bundy! On a very hot day at Yankee Stadium last June, Bundy had to exit the game after just 1.2 innings after having a, um, stomach event, on the mound. He ended up coming back two days later and throwing two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, but the Yankees have mostly had his number over the years. In 61.2 career innings against the Yankees, Bundy has a 6.42 ERA.