Livan Hernandez, Twins Look to Earn Series Split Against Yankees Tonight

Dan CareyContributor IJune 2, 2008

After winning a game and experiencing a frightening moment yesterday, the Minnesota Twins will look to earn a series split with the aging, but always dangerous New York Yankees.

During the fifth inning of yesterday's afternoon matinee, Nick Blackburn's second well pitched game in a row ended at the hands of a line drive hit by Yankees' right fielder Bobby Abreu. The line drive struck Blackburn in the face.

After a few tense moments, as Blackburn clutched his face as he was sprawled out on the ground, Blackburn arose to his feet as he walked back to the Twins' dugout with a towel pressed against his nose.

With Blackburn seemingly OK and on his way to get X-Rays, Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire was forced to dig into a weary bullpen.

The result?

A stellar performance by a trio of Twins' relievers.

Brian Bass, who would pick up the win, came on in the emergency situation and threw 1 2/3 innings only allowing one run.

Following Bass was Jesse Crain who hurled two innings and Joe Nathan who pitched one inning in a non-save situation to preserve the 5-1 victory.

For tonight's game, the Twins' scheduled starter, Livan Hernandez, better do what he has been doing his entire career: eat innings.

It's no secret that the Twins' bullpen needs a much needed day off, but with no off day scheduled for another 13 days, the Twins desperately need Hernandez to go at least seven innings.

Hernandez is not the only body the Twins are relying on.

After enduring a seemingly season long slump, Twins' Right Fielder Michael Cuddyer has been hitting the ball on the button all series. Cuddyer is the unsung key to tonight's victory. Hopefully Cuddyer's newly grown beard will help him improve on his six for 14 performance in this series.

As for Nick Blackburn, x-rays showed no breaks after getting his face examined. Ron Gardenhire said the young pitcher may not miss a start.

Game details:

New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins, H.H.H. Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN 6:05pm, ESPN

LHP Andy Pettitte (5-5, 4.11 ERA) vs. RHP Hernandez (6-2, 4.60 ERA)

Projected Twins lineup

1. Carlos Gomez-CF
2. Alexi Casilla-2B
3. Joe Mauer-C
4. Justin Morneau-1B
5. Michael Cuddyer-RF
6. Jason Kubel-DH
7. Delmon Young-LF
8. Mike Lamb-3B
9. Brendan Harris-SS

Projected Yankees lineup

1. Johnny Damon-CF
2. Derek Jeter-SS
3. Bobby Abreu-RF
4. Alex Rodriguez-3B
5. Hideki Matsui-CF
6. Robinson Cano-2B
7. Wilson Betemit-1B
8. Chad Moeller-C
9. Melky Cabrera-LF


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