The Yankees wrapped up their series in Cleveland on Wednesday like they had wrapped up all their series so far this season: with a victory to win a three-game set. Backed by a 8-4 record, the Yankees will now return home, where they will not be able to continue that trend, mainly because it’s going to be a four-game series.
Tonight, the Twins will come to town to open up a weekend matchup in the Bronx. Minnesota saw a similar 8-4 record thanks to a 3-1 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday. With just 32 runs allowed on the season, there are many pitching staffs that have done better so far this year. A large part of that had been Sonny Gray, who the Yankees will miss after starting Wednesday’s game at Target Field. However, the Twins have still been pretty good on the mound this year, even disregarding him.
Ahead of the action kicking off tonight, let’s take a look at the pitching matchups we’ll see over the next couple days.
Thursday: Jhony Brito vs. Joe Ryan (7:05 pm ET)
In the series opener, Brito will look to continue the impressive start to his major league career. He followed up his MLB debut by throwing five innings of one-run ball on Saturday against the Orioles.
Ryan has also gotten off to a solid start to the season, with a 122 ERA+ through 12 innings. The lone time the Yankees have ever faced him came last September at Yankee Stadium. He allowed four runs in four innings thanks almost exclusively to an Isiah Kiner-Falefa grand slam, which aren’t exactly regular occurrences.
Friday: Nestor Cortes vs. Tyler Mahle (7:05 pm ET)
Cortes has been pretty solid so far this year, as he gave up two runs on four hits in 5.1 innings against the Orioles on Sunday. He made two starts against the Twins last year, and neither one were his best of the year. Minnesota got him for four runs on seven hits on June 8th, and he gave up two runs in four innings on September 8th, in what was his first start off the injured list.
This is Mahle’s seventh season in the major leagues and first full year in Minnesota after his 2022 deadline trade from Cincinnati. Friday’s game will actually be the first time the Yankees have ever faced him. Mahle’s numbers grade out as slightly above average thus far, having put in one pretty good outing and one mediocre one.
Saturday: Domingo Germán vs. Kenta Maeda (1:05 pm ET)
In his two starts so far this season, Germán hasn’t been hit for a big amount of runs, but he also hasn’t been particularly impressive. He got the ball in the series opener in Cleveland, and lasted just three innings after allowing two runs (only one earned) after getting a 2-0 lead to start the game. For his career, the Twins have hit him pretty well, dinging him with a 5.48 ERA in 21.1 innings.
This will be the first time the Yankees have faced Maeda since August 21, 2021, which was the pitcher’s last appearance before undergoing Tommy John surgery that kept him out of last season. The 2020 AL Cy Young runner-up has been okay in his two starts so far, but did allow four runs on eight hits in his most recent outing.
Sunday: Gerrit Cole vs. Pablo López (1:35 pm ET)
Cole has been on fire to start the season. His outing in Cleveland was his worst of the year so far, but even then, he adjusted after an iffy first inning and ended up going seven strong frames. His starts against the Twins last year were a tale of two games. The one at Target Field was on the shortlist for his worst start of the year after Cole allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to open the game. Meanwhile, he ended up striking out 14 when the teams faced off in the Bronx.
Around the trade deadline last year and into this winter, the Yankees were among teams connected to making a trade for López. However, it was the Twins who eventually got a deal done, acquiring him from the Marlins back in January for recent cyclist Luis Arraez. López’s career as a Twin so far has been very good, putting up a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings. He’s also struck out 26 batters, which is close to the top of the league lead.