Overworked Yankees go with Mitchell against Twins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Four games in three days, with one 16-inning affair mixed in, have the New York Yankees weary and facing a pitching shortage.
New York has little time to adjust as it travels to Minnesota for a three-game series with the Twins starting on Monday.
The overworked Yankees were left scrambling to the point where manager Joe Girardi wasn't able to say who would start on the mound Monday immediately after the team wrapped up a Sunday doubleheader at Boston.
Later Sunday night, the Yankees announced that Bryan Mitchell (1-1, 5.06 ERA) would get the start.
In his most recent appearance, on June 30, Mitchell pitched three innings in relief against the Houston Astros, giving up two hits and one run while picking up the save in a 13-4 victory. Monday will be his first start of the season after 12 relief outings.
His only career appearance against the Twins came in 2015, when he gave up four hits and a run in 1 2/3 innings in a starting assignment. Mitchell left that game in the second inning after getting hit in the face with a line drive.
Considering the three-inning outing vs. Houston was Mitchell's longest of the season, the Yankees can't expect to see him work deep into the night against the Twins.
"It is a challenge," Girardi told MLB.com of his team handling the heavy workload. "You just manage it the best way you can."
Girardi will get little sympathy from Minnesota, which has played four doubleheaders this season, including two in a four-day span in May. The Twins are also heading home after a series against the best team in the American League, the Astros, in which they lost two of three. Minnesota fell 5-3 at Houston on Sunday.
The Twins will send rookie Adalberto Mejia (4-4, 4.43 ERA) to the mound for the opener against New York.
Mejia, who will be making his first career appearance against the Yankees, gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings in his last start on July 8. The outing against the Baltimore Orioles snapped his three-game personal winning streak, but he still owns a 2.59 ERA -- seven earned runs in 24 1/3 innings -- over his past four starts.
"He says he feels a lot better," said the interpreter who translated Mejia's comments after the July 8 start. "That's what his work is for. He's listening to coaches. He prepared himself really good. That's why he's getting stronger every day, and everything's coming together."
The Yankees are winless in their past nine series, since sweeping Baltimore from June 9-11, which gave them the AL East lead by four games. After splitting the Sunday doubleheader and the series against Boston, New York (47-43) is third in the East, 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox, and just 1 1/2 games ahead of the Twins (46-45) for the second AL wild card.
"In order for us to be a contender, we're going to have to show we can compete with these guys," Minnesota catcher Jason Castro told MLB.com. "It's a little test for us midseason, but it's definitely something we can handle."
It will be the first meeting of the season between the Twins and New York, which is in the middle of a season-long, 11-game road trip. The Yankees have won 10 of their past 12 meetings against Minnesota.
The series will also mark Aaron Judge's first trip to Target Field. Judge outlasted Twins slugger Miguel Sano to win the Home Run Derby last week in Miami.
"He's an animal, that's all I can say about him," Sano told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "The first time I saw Aaron Judge in (batting practice), I could tell you: He's a monster."
Updated July 17, 2017