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Yankees, Twins clash on Monday
By: Staff Writer - StatFox
Published: 7/17/2017  at  11:16:00 AM
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First pitch: Monday, 8:10 p.m. ET
Line: New York -115, Minnesota -105, Total: 10.0

The Yankees will be looking to win their third in four games when they take on the Twins in Minnesota on Monday.

New York split a doubleheader with Boston on Sunday, winning the afternoon game 3-0 and then losing 3-0 on Sunday Night Baseball. The Yankees are now 3.5 games back in the AL East, but they would be in the Wild Card Game if the season ended today. The Twins are 1.5 games back from the Yankees, but they are certainly hoping to close the gap in this three-game series. The starters in this Monday night game are set to be RHP Bryan Mitchell (1-1, 5.06 ERA, 10 K) for New York and LHP Adalberto Mejia (4-4, 4.43 ERA, 54 K) for Minnesota. Mitchell has not yet started a game for the Yankees this season, but he did pitch three innings of one-run ball in relief against the Astros on Jun. 30. He also has been a starter for most of his career, so his mentality won’t need to be changed too much. One trend favoring the Yankees in this game is the fact that they are 13-3 against the money line over the past three seasons after scoring and allowing four runs or less in their past three games. The Twins, meanwhile, are 25-15 against the money line over the past three seasons after a game where they stranded three or fewer runners.

The Yankees split a four-game set with the Red Sox, but that honestly isn’t good enough for New York. This team was at the top of the AL East for quite some time, but a slide before the All-Star break has it in danger of missing the postseason. The Yankees need to get hot soon, and they’ll be counting on Bryan Mitchell to give them a good outing on Monday. Mitchell is coming off of a solid relief performance against Houston on Jun. 30, but this is not the same. He must find a way to answer the bell in this start, and it’d be big if he can give the Yankees five good innings. This is important for Mitchell individually, as he can earn himself a spot in the rotation moving forward. Offensively, OF Aaron Judge (.313 BA, 30 HR, 66 RBI) is just 1-for-18 since coming out of the All-Star break. The Yankees need their superstar to get himself going soon. One guy who has been good since the break is C Gary Sanchez (.276 BA, 14 HR, 44 RBI). Sanchez is 5-for-19 with a homer and four RBI over the past four games, and it’d be huge for New York if he can start hitting homers more consistently.

The Twins are really struggling heading into this game, as they have lost four of their past five games. Minnesota was one of the more surprising teams of the first half of the year, but the Twins want to prove that they are no fluke. A big series win against the Yankees would go a long way in doing that, but they’ll need a nice performance from Mejia in this one. The lefty has been solid recently, allowing only nine earned runs in his past 29 innings of work. The Twins would certainly sign up for a quality start from him here. If Minnesota is going to win this game, the team will, however, need a good game out of 3B Miguel Sano (.270 BA, 21 HR, 62 RBI). Sano is just 1-for-10 since the break, and that is not acceptable. He is a superstar and needs to start playing more like one. If he can’t then this offense will continue to struggle.

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