Major League Baseball
Twins-Yankees preview
Major League Baseball

Twins-Yankees preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 9:24 p.m. ET

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees went over the .500 mark by getting big performances from their electrifying late-inning relief trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.

Now comes the difficult part, keeping a winning record when those three might be unavailable.

The Yankees will look to score enough runs to avoid making it an issue as they go for the three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees have opened the series with 5-3 and 3-2 victories and each member of the trio dubbed "No Runs DMC" on T-shirts and the "Holy Trinity of Smoke" by one New York tabloid has pitched. They are 12-0 when using those pitchers in the same game and 26-36 in all other games.


In the two games, they have combined to throw 67 pitches and retire 18 of 19 hitters.

"When you get to the bullpen you are basically done," said Minnesota shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who homered off Chapman last weekend.

They also have pitched in three straight games as manager Joe Girardi began using them Wednesday when the Yankees faced an 8-4 deficit before getting a 9-8 win over the Colorado Rockies.

Girardi has often shied away from using them in three straight games with this being an exception and it seems possible neither will pitch in a close game Sunday.

"You have to win today," Girardi said. "Tomorrow doesn't really mean anything. It does now when you look forward to it but obviously you have to win today."

The Yankees can make it a non-issue if their offense produces a big enough lead but, regardless of the score, they will be looking to get to two over at 38-36. New York went over the .500 mark for the second time this month when Carlos Beltran had an RBI single and Starlin Castro drove in a run by reaching on an eighth-inning error.

"We're confident in our team, we're confident that we're going to start playing better baseball," New York catcher Brian McCann said.

"I think we've had this conversation like four or five times this year," Beltran said. "Right now, honestly, what we want to do is be consistent, honestly. I think the .500 thing is something we're not paying attention. We just want to be out there and play consistent baseball and hopefully we can continue to win ballgames and continue to gain ground in our division."

The Yankees will have someone on the mound looking to improve on some recent performances when Nathan Eovaldi pitches.

Eovaldi is 6-4 with a 5.02 ERA and takes a 9.82 ERA over his last three starts in his second straight outing against the Twins. It is the highest ERA Eovaldi has posted in any month during his career which began in 2011 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During his three starts this month, Eovaldi has allowed 26 hits in 14 2/3 innings and hitters are batting .356 (32-for-90) against him.

Eovaldi will be facing the Twins for the fourth time in his career. On Aug. 19 in New York, he took a perfect game into the sixth and allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings of a 4-3 win.

Joe Mauer had a two-run single against Eovaldi in that game and Trevor Plouffe had a run-scoring infield single.

Last Sunday when Eovaldi faced the Twins in Minnesota, he allowed four earned runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He began the game with four scoreless innings before allowing a home run to Max Kepler, a two-run triple to Eduardo Escobar and a run-scoring single to Kurt Suzuki.

Besides trying to generate offense off Eovaldi, the Twins will hope to play better defense after making five errors in the first two games. Escobar had made three of those miscues and one by Mauer at first base Friday was compounded by Tommy Milone not covering first, marking the third time in a week Minnesota has seen a pitcher not cover first.

"It is frustrating. It shouldn't happen," Minnesota GM Terry Ryan said before Saturday's game. "It shouldn't happen once but it's happened three times in the same week. It's one of the reasons we are where we are, extra outs and too many pitches."

Minnesota right-hander Tyler Duffey will make his 12th start Sunday and hopes it goes longer than his last outing. On Tuesday, he allowed six hits on seven hits, including three home runs in three innings but did not get a decision when the Twins beat Philadelphia 14-10.

It marked the seventh straight start Duffey has allowed at least four earned runs and during those outings, he has a 9.17 ERA.

"If we have to get him back out there, we're going to have to figure out a way to get better," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.


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