The 101-win Twins and the 103-win Yankees face off beginning Friday, only 14th time that such successful regular-season teams have met in the postseason, and only the second time in a Division Series. So it’s no surprise that the games are being scheduled so that they finish in prime time.
First pitch of Friday’s game from Yankee Stadium will be at 6:07 p.m. Central time, MLB announced on Monday, and will be televised on MLB Network. Saturday’s game has an earlier start and a different network — 4:07 p.m. on Fox Sports 1 — but the late innings should also extend into the hours with the largest audience.
Times for the rest of the series have not yet been set.
MLB also assigned umpiring crews, naming Gary Cederstrom, finishing his 31st season in the major leagues, as crew chief for Twins-Yankees. The other umpires are Todd Tichenor, Manny Gonzalez, Lance Barksdale, Eric Cooper and Adrian Johnson.
At last, a breather
The Twins took Monday off, and they will hold a workout Tuesday at Target Field before traveling to New York on Wednesday. After ending the season by winning six of their last seven games, a four-day gap without a game might seem less than ideal.
Unless you’ve been playing nearly every day for six months.
“We just endured and played through a long season. Our guys have played a ton of games,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “They have a lot of mileage on them. I don’t think four days off will hurt us in any way.”
In fact, insisted Sergio Romo, a veteran of three World Series runs with the Giants, it’s a great benefit.
“It’s huge. We’re a little beat up by this point, and getting some guys who are battling [injuries] a chance to get themselves in their best condition, it’s important,” the Twins reliever said. “In a sense, we can get our minds off things. Get away from the pressure and the buildup and the history and all that. Getting away from it for a couple of days will be refreshing.”
Back-to-back for Gibson
For the first time in his seven-year MLB career, Kyle Gibson pitched in back-to-back games over the weekend at Kansas City and, he had to admit, it was a different sensation than he had ever experienced.
“I felt a little tired and tight, but not sore to the point where I couldn’t execute. So it’s different, but not terrible. I don’t know what all these relievers are trying to make it out to be, it’s not that bad,” Gibson joked, raising his voice so Romo could hear. “You don’t feel bad, you just don’t feel quite as fresh, quite as close to 100 percent being yourself, as you’re used to as a starter.”
Gibson faced only one batter Sunday, striking out Humberto Arteaga on a 3-2 slider that the Royals infielder chased out of the zone. It’s a clear indication the Twins are considering him for a relief role in October, one the righthander said he is willing to take on.
“It’s all hands on deck, pretty much every game,” Gibson said. “The goal is to win, and Rocco will use the guys he thinks are the best for each situation.”