Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has labored through back-to-back injury-plagued seasons, but he is looking like the picture of health this year, particularly in the shadows of the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. Morneau slammed a pair of towering home runs to power the Twins to their second victory in three nights over the Yankees on Wednesday night. A victory Thursday in the finale of a four-game set would give Minnesota its first road series win against New York in 11 years.
With Andy Pettitte set to return to the rotation next month, one of New York Yankees‘s starters will be facing demotion, turning each outing into a personal audition. Hiroki Kuroda stubbed his toe Wednesday night, putting the Yankees in a 4-0 hole before they came to bat, and struggling Phil Hughes will get another chance to cement his place among the starting five when he makes his third start Thursday. During their current six-game homestand, the Yankees have scored 33 runs but are only 3-3. Derek Jeter homered and had three hits Wednesday to boost his average to .389.
Twins Yankees Betting
When: 7:05 PM ET, Thursday, April 19, 2012
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSNO, YES
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Anthony Swarzak (0-2, 3.75 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Phil Hughes (0-2, 9.00 ERA).
Swarzak was scheduled to open the season in the bullpen, but will be making his third start due to varying circumstances. He’s given the Twins two credible starts, but has watched the team score just one run in each of the two outings. He’s made three appearances against the Yankees, and his only start in 2009 yielded four runs in 4 1/3 innings. Curtis Granderson is 3-for-4 and Jeter 3-for-6 against Swarzak.
Hughes’ strong spring hasn’t translated to the regular season. He was cuffed around for six runs in 3 1/3 innings of a 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Hughes normally gets tons of offensive support, but the Yankees have provided him with just one win in two games. He had his best outing of 2011 against the Twins, giving up one run and two hits in a season-high 7 2/3 innings.
1. Morneau has seven homers in 12 games at the new Yankee Stadium, more than he’s hit in 80 games at Target Field. He has two homers in six at-bats against Hughes.
2. The Yankees said after Wednesday’s game that starting left fielder Brett Gardner will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury.
3. The Twins haven’t won a series at Yankee Stadium since May 8-10, 2011.