NEW YORK — Paul Molitor doesn’t want to put any extra pressure on Tyler Duffey. After all, pitching in Yankee Stadium for the first time can be stressful enough.
But the manager couldn’t hide the fact that today’s start is an important one for the second-year righthander. You know, if he wants to remain in the starting rotation.
Duffey’s ERA has risen in each of his last seven starts, and it now stands at 6.18 on the season. Molitor admitted after Duffey’s three-inning, six-run outing against the Phillies on Tuesday that he had to give some thought about whether Duffey would make today’s start.
He did, but the Twins want to see progress.
“It’s been a learning experience for him after the success he had last year, and having to make adjustments this year,” Molitor said. “He’s learning there’s a lot of smart hitters in this league who have made adjustments. It comes back to trusting that your stuff is good enough, and that you know how to control yourself.”
Duffey has been watching video and working on his mechanics this week, hoping he’s corrected any issues that have contributed to his streak of seven straight outings of four or more runs. He’s likely aware, too, that Jose Berrios has allowed five hits and one earned run in his last two starts at Class AAA Rochester, covering 14 innings.
The Twins will try to break their three-game losing streak today, and they may have caught a break from the Yankees. Joe Girardi, the Yankees manager, said relievers Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman are probably unavailable today, after pitching an inning in two straight games.
Molitor’s response? “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Here are the lineups for the Twins’ last game of the season in Yankee Stadium (they’ll be back in New York in September to play the Mets at Citi Field):