Garrett Jones is in the Yankees lineup today, and the Twins have to be happy about that. Not because they get to face a former teammate — Jones came up through the Twins system and played 31 games for Minnesota in 2007 — but because it means Alex Rodriguez isn’t playing.
Jones will be at first base, moving Mark Teixeira to the designated hitter spot normally occupied by A-Rod. It’s just a regularly scheduled day off for the three-time MVP, but it’s a nice break for the Twins, too, after Rodriguez, who turns 40 tomorrow, blasted three home runs last night and led the Yankees’ biggest comeback in three years.
Today, Kyle Gibson will try to change his luck, after giving up six runs in five innings in Anaheim last week, and try to change the Twins’ luck, too. Minnesota has never won a series at Target Field against the Yankees, who are 15-5 in this ballpark.
Joe Mauer and Eddie Rosario are back in the lineup for the Twins, after sitting out Saturday’s loss. They’ll face righthander Nathan Eovaldi, perhaps the least-known nine-game winner in the majors. Eovaldi, acquired with Jones in a trade with Miami last winter, doesn’t usually pitch very long — he’s gotten through seven innings in only four of his 19 starts this season, and hasn’t made it through six innings since June 26 — but he keeps the Yankees close. In fact, he’s left the game with a lead in 16 of those starts, which explains his 9-2 record despite a 4.43 ERA.
Eovaldi is the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in the game, according to MLB data, averaging 96.1 mph with his fastball this season. I’ll be interested to see if he throws any fastballs to Miguel Sano.
Here are the lineups for the 1:10 start: