The Yankees and Twins will square off for the final time during the regular season at Target Field this week. The Twins (26-18; 14-7 home) took two of three this past weekend at home against the struggling Milwaukee Brewers. The Yankees (26-18, 13-13 road) dropped two of three against the Mets at Citi Field. Last weekend, The Yankees took two of three against the Twins in the Bronx, but have struggled overall recently. The Yankees have lost ten of their last fifteen contests while Minnesota has gone 3-4 since leaving Yankee Stadium last weekend.

Offensively for Minnesota, first baseman, Justin Moreanu has returned in a huge way. Morneau is putting up MVP-type numbers. He is leading baseball with a .377 batting average. He has also clubbed 11 home runs and driven in 33 runs…The key to defeating the Twins is limiting the damage caused by Morneau and reigning AL MVP and All-Star leading vote getter, Joe Mauer. If the Yankees can do this, it’ll be a successful series.

'Wanna Take Some Cuts, Miguel?' AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams

The Yankees will see the same three pitchers that they faced last weekend, (Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, and Nick Blackburn). Yankee hitters fared well against this trio, banging out 28 hits and scoring 11 runs over 19 innings. However, each of these three pitchers have pitched much better at home this season (see below).

The Yankees should have swept the Twins, but their bullpen failed them the final game of the series. Joba Chamberlain allowed three earned runs in only 2/3 inning. Mariano Rivera yielded a grand slam to Jason Kubel to give the Twins a 6-3 advantage. The Yankees staged a late game rally, but were turned away by Minnesota closer, Jon Rauch. The Yankees Game 1 and 2 starters, AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte, both won their respective starts against the Twins.

The Yankees are 12-1 against the Twins in their last 13 games. However, this is their first ever trip to Target Field.

Pitching Match-Ups:

Tuesday, 8:10 PM, MY9: AJ Burnett (4-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. Scott Baker (4-4, 4.88 ERA)

Last Start:
Burnett: Loss, 6 2/3 innings, nine hits, six earned runs, four strike outs (vs. Tampa Bay)
Baker: Loss, six innings, eight hits, three earned runs, four strike outs (at Boston)

Career Stats:
Burnett: 2-1, 3.57 ERA (seven starts)
Baker: 2-2, 5.14 ERA (four starts); 3-1, 3.90 ERA at home this season. 8:1 K/BB ratio at home.

**Burnett has given up 16 earned runs in his last three starts (at BOS, vs. MIN, vs. TB)

Wednesday, 7:05 PM, ESPN: Andy Pettitte (5-1, 2.68 ERA) vs. Francisco Liriano (4-3, 3.25 ERA)

Last Start:
Pettitte: Loss, five innings, nine hits, six earned runs, three strike outs (vs. Tampa Bay)
Liriano: Loss, 4 2/3 innings, five hits, five earned runs, nine strike outs (at Boston)

Career Stats:
Pettitte: 10-5, 3.53 ERA (twenty starts)
Liriano: 0-2, 3.32 ERA (three starts); 2-1, 2.14 ERA at home this year.

**After starting the season 4-0, the Twins have lost in Liriano’s last three starts (vs. BAL, at NYY, at BOS)

Thursday, 8:10 PM, YES: Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.69 ERA) vs. Nick Blackburn (5-1, 4.50 ERA)

Last Start:
Vazquez: Win, six innings, one hit, no runs, six strikeouts (at Mets)
Blackburn: Win, 7 1/3 innings, seven hits, three runs, two strikeouts (vs. Brewers)

Career Stats:
Vazquez: 6-6, 5.11 ERA (sixteen starts)
Blackburn: 1-1, 5.33 ERA (five starts); 3-0, 3.49 ERA at home this year.

**Blackburn has won five straight starts. Vazquez has only allowed one hit in his last nine innings of work.

**Side Note: Curtis Granderson went 3 for 5 with two RBIs in a rehab start for Scranton last night. Granderson DH’ed, but will play the field before being activated. Expect him back by this weekend.

Enjoy the series!