Tonight, the New York Yankees will kick off their postseason run against the Minnesota Twins. Let’s check out who the prospective pitchers are and identify keys for the Yankees to win the series. The Twins have home field advantage, but does that matter?

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Game 1: CC Sabathia (21-7 3.18 ERA) vs. Francisco Liriano (14-10, 3.62 ERA) –
Tonight, 8:37 PM, TBS
CC in the Playoffs: 5-4, 4.4o ERA, 3-1 with the Yankees
Francisco in the Playoffs:  0-0, 4.50 ERA in one appearance with the Twins vs. the Yankees in 2005

Game 2: Andy Pettitte (11-3 3.28 ERA) vs. Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.75 ERA) –
Thursday, 6:07 PM, TBS
Andy in the Playoffs: 18-9, 3.90 ERA (all with Yankees)
Carl in the Playoffs: 2-1, 1.71 ERA (0-1, 2.57 with the Twins)

Game 3: Phil Hughes (18-8 4.19 ERA) vs. Brian Duensing (10-3, 2.62 ERA) –
Saturday, 8:37 PM, TBS
Phil in the Playoffs: 1-1, 5.25 ERA (all with Yankees)
Brian in the Playoffs: 0-1, 9.64 ERA (one career start in the 2009 ALDS vs. the Yankees)

Game 4 (if necessary): Undecided vs. Nick Blackburn (10-12, 5.42 ERA) –
Sunday, 8:07 PM, TBS
Nick in the Playoffs: 0-0, 5.19 ERA (one career start in the 2009 ALDS vs. the Yankees)

Game 5 (if necessary): Undecided vs. Undecided –
Tuesday, 8:37 PM, TBS

Keys for the Yankees:

#1: Let the Lefties Roll: For the Yanks, that is. As this series goes on, it will only benefit the Yankees because the main bats for the Twins are lefties (Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel, Jim Thome). If CC and Andy can limit these hitters, they can afford to give up a hit or two to Delmon Young and Danny Valencia.

#2: The right-handed DH vs. the Twins lefties: Since the Yankees can only carry two catchers, Marcus Thames and Austin Kearns need to step up huge when DHing. What does that mean for them? For Marcus, one or two timely huge hits will be all that’s expected. For Austin, doing ANYTHING to get out of his horrendous end-of-season slump (.222/.352/.222, 0 HR, 1 RBI) will be much appreciated.

#3: Get to Game 4: I do think the Yankees have the abilities to sweep, but if not, they need to make it to the latter half of this series. That will likely bring CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte back to the mound on short rest. If I had to pick any two pitchers in the Majors to pitch in the playoffs on short rest with the team’s life on the line, I would pick CC and Andy.

Enjoy the series, it will be a great one!