Regular season or postseason, the Yankees have consistently dominated this series.
The Yankees host the Twins on Monday to start a four-game set as the teams play for the first time since New York swept Minnesota in an AL division series last October.
New York (2-1) has won all four postseason series between the teams since 2003, and last year’s sweep extended its playoff winning streak over the Twins to nine games. Minnesota did snap a 10-game regular-season losing streak at New York with a 6-3 win May 16, but has dropped 11 of 13 overall to the Yankees in the last two regular seasons.
“Some people say it’s great to get them out of the way, but… it might not be that great to get them out of the way,” manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins’ official website. “We just have to play - play the schedule out. We just want to survive and get to our home field.”
Minnesota (1-2) got off to a slow start by dropping two of three at Toronto, avoiding a sweep with a 4-3 victory Sunday. The victory didn’t come without drama, as closer Joe Nathan(notes) gave up a run before working out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth for his first save since 2009 after missing last year due to Tommy John surgery.
“It was a situation where I was trying to do anything I could to get somebody out,” Nathan said. “Fortunately, I was able to get (Adam) Lind to swing at a breaking ball and get a groundball.”
Scott Baker(notes) (12-9, 4.49 ERA) was strong down the stretch last year to help the Twins win the Central. He went 5-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his last 10 starts as the team won nine of them but did lose at Yankee Stadium on May 14, giving up five runs and 10 hits in an 8-4 defeat.
While the Twins were able to avoid a sweep this past weekend, the Yankees (2-1) failed to complete one Sunday following a 10-7 defeat to the Tigers. New York wasted four homers - two by Jorge Posada(notes) - as both Phil Hughes(notes) and Bartolo Colon(notes) struggled to keep Detroit off the basepaths.
Mark Teixeira(notes) continued his torrid start with his third homer in his many games, joining Dave Winfield (1983) as the only Yankees to go deep in the first three games of the season. It’s a stark reversal from Teixeira’s miserable start to 2010, when he hit .136 with two homers in April. The switch-hitting first baseman has batted well versus Baker, going 6 for 12 with a home run and double.
After claiming a rotation spot with a solid spring training, Ivan Nova(notes) will try to justify manager Joe Girardi’s faith in him. The 24-year-old right-hander was 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in seven starts and 10 total appearances as a rookie last year, striking out 26 in 42 innings.
In his lone appearance against the Twins last May, Nova allowed two hits in a scoreless inning of relief.