After an unceremonious end to their 10-game homestand, as the Yankees dropped their first series of the season and finished the trip 5-5, the club will be heading out on a seven-game road trip. Their first stop will be in Minneapolis for a three-game set, and their first foe on the mound will be a familiar one.
Sonny Gray, whom the Yankees dealt just a year and a half after acquiring him in a 2017 blockbuster, will toe the slab for the Twins. The right-hander has posted a 3.28 ERA in 508.1 innings since his bitter public fallout with the Yankees, and in that time he’s faced the Bombers just once, holding them to two runs (one earned) across six innings last September in the Bronx. Now, on his home turf, Gray will look to build upon his strong start to the season — he’s posted a minuscule 0.82 ERA over four starts — as he squares up against his former squad again.
Lining up opposite Gray will be Jhony Brito. In three of his four starts, the rookie has allowed one run or put up zeroes. Unfortunately, in his other outing, he yielded seven earnies and failed to make it out of the first inning. What’s more, that start came against the Twins, who at the time were without their most productive bat this season — another former Yankee — because of an intercostal strain.
Joey Gallo, another blockbuster Yankees acquisition who failed to live up to the hype, will be suiting up at first base and batting seventh for the Twins tonight. Gallo, the lone star on a flagging Texas team for the first seven years of his career, was open about the difficulties he faced in adjusting to the bright lights at Yankee Stadium ahead of his own unceremonious departure. This season, the lefty has relished the confines of Target Field, already slugging 5 homers in just 40 plate appearances on the season as a whole to lead Minnesota. He’ll be facing the Yankees for the first time since they dealt him to the Dodgers last summer.
Also recently activated off the IL for the Twins, Jorge Polanco will be batting third and playing second base. Polanco has provided an immediate spark since returning from a knee injury Friday, chipping in five hits — including a double and a homer — in just 13 plate appearances. Setting the table for him and batting second will be public enemy number one in Carlos Correa.
As for the Yankees, another aggrieved player destined to join the likes of Gallo and Gray will be facing those two tonight: Aaron Hicks. The former Twin will be manning center and batting ninth, giving Aaron Judge a half-day off as he DHs and bats second. Franchy Cordero, who’s cooled off following his torrid start, will get the nod in right field and bat sixth after sitting yesterday. The Yankees need Franchy to catch fire again if they hope to break out of their recent offensive malaise; they scored just 3.2 runs per game during their homestand.
Or perhaps Brito will bail out the Bombers’ bats again. With news of Luis Severino and Carlos Rodon’s returns confirmed to not happen anytime soon, Brito appears poised to stick in the rotation for at least another three-to-four weeks. Hopefully, he continues to build on his case to be a starter long-term tonight.
How to watch:
Location: Target Field — Minneapolis, MN
First pitch: 7:40 pm EDT
TV broadcast: YES
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280
Online Stream: MLB.tv