NEW YORK — The Twins haven’t been swept in a four-game series in a couple of years, since an ugly four days in Kansas City on Aug. 18-21, 2016. That was the start of a 13-game losing streak (and the Twins’ current slump is six straight losses), so let’s just say it’s important to arrest these slides as soon as possible.
The reason for the Twins’ skid isn’t difficult to diagnose: No starting pitcher has survived five innings since Kyle Gibson last Saturday in St. Petersburg. Gibson is back on the mound today, and nothing would help the Twins’ cause more than having him pitch into the seventh inning or so.
Just in case he can’t, Aaron Slegers is in uniform today, called up to take the place of Tyler Kinley. Slegers has pitched in relief only one time since 2014, a five-batter stint against the Blue Jays last September, but he’s more than willing to fill that role if it means being in the majors. The 6-foot-10 righthander has started three games for Class AAA Rochester this season, and has allowed only four runs over 18 innings, while striking out 10 and walking just one.
Whether that translates into slowing down a Yankee offense that has rampaged through the Twins’ pitching staff remains to be seen. New York has out homered the Twins 10-1 in the first three games here. Gibson’s record isn’t encouraging — he’s 1-4 with a 9.31 ERA against the Yankees in six career starts.
Last night’s wet weather has passed, and it’s a sunny day in the south Bronx. Here are the lineups for today’s finale in New York: