Three games at Target Field only fanned the flames of the Yankees–Twins rivalry.
New York arrived in the Twin Cities and put on a signature series in Minnesota. Bats starred on both sides, while pitching sort of went out the window. Very ironic considering the Yankees and Twins’ arms respectively ranked first and 11th in the league entering Thursday’s game.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Yankees pulled off another series win, even snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in Thursday’s 10-7 win. The bullpen turned in 11 2/3 scoreless innings in the two wins, picking up the starters on bad nights.
Pitchers are mortal too. It took until June, but the Yankees’ elite starters finally proved human this series. Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes, and Gerrit Cole combined for an atrocious 13.23 ERA in uncharacteristically bad performances. Cole was hit particularly hard, giving up a career-worst five home runs and didn’t even last three innings.
It was a reminder that as great as the team’s pitching has been this season, it’s still prone to some bad, bad games.
These aren’t your father’s Twins. Maybe it’s just one weird series, but this Twins team is the most talented one the Yankees have seen in a while. Byron Buxton is finally healthy and makes pitchers pay for mistakes. Similarly, guys like Carlos Correa and Trevor Larnach know how to turn on a fastball.
History may favor the Yankees, but the Twins have a Top 10 offense this year. That could make for a tight series if/when these two teams meet in October.
Unsung heroes. Don’t look now, but Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo are on what will surely be a brief hot streak. Hicks hit .545 in the series, including a game-tying two-run homer on Thursday. Gallo had two home runs of his own Thursday and hit .444 against Minnesota.
It’s also worth noting that Hicks is batting .407 in June and raised his batting average to .232. It’s not enough to say he or Gallo are now fully reliable, but still a welcome boost for the surging Yankees.
Playoffs? It’s still June and the playoffs are months away. A lot can happen between now and then, but it’s hard to imagine the Yankees and Twins won’t cross paths in the playoffs. Hell, the entire rivalry is rooted in postseason play. Now, let’s see if both teams can keep it up and make it to October.