La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Hughes on a familiar mound as Twins face Yankees in rubber game of series

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 1, 2014 - 11:00 AM

Good morning from New York, where is should be a wonderful day for baseball. The Twins have a chance to win this three-game series, which would be the second straight year they have done so in the Bronx. That shouldn't be an eyebrow-raiser. This is not the Yankees team of past years.  There's no feeling of impending doom when you enter this place. The Yankees have players named John Ryan Murphy, Preston Caliborne and Adam Warren on the roster. The lineup isn't feared. This isn't a deep team, and it can be had right now.

I would make the Twins the favorite today with Phil Hughes on the mound, but his 1-10 record in this park last season is a reason to be cautious. But he's a different pitcher this year, which his increased reliance on his cut fastball.

Trevor May (5-3, 2.62 ERA) had another good outing for Class AAA Rochester last night, tossing seven shutout innings. As I wrote today, I think May beats Alex Meyer to the majors this season - if a spot in the rotation opens up. Meyer is on a pitch count as well as an innings count. He can't even pitch into the seventh inning. May at least is getting to 100 pitches and able to go past it a few times.

Kennys Vargas is up to .324 at New Britain with 8 homers and 36 RBI. I hope he gets called up in September. He's fun to watch hit and is really a nice young man. He was horrible as a first baseman when the Twins started chipping away at the block of granite, but he's improved in the field.

Danny Santana is available off the bench, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire prefers to give him one more day off after taking seven stitches on his upper left eyelid on Friday.

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is out for two days after receiving a cortisone shot in his wrist.

Yankees starter Chase Whitley has a good change up that he can throw different ways. It will be interesting to see if the Twins try to stay out of change up counts.

Twins (25-28)

Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Josh Willingham. DH
Jason Kubel, LF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Aaron Hicks, CF

Pitching: Phil Hughes, RHP

Yankees (29-25)

Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Brian McCann, C
Yangervis Solarte, 3B
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Brian Roberts, 2B
Kelly Johnson, 1B
Zoilo Almonte, DH

Pitching: Chase Whitley, RHP


 

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