Twins take early lead over Yankees and CC Sabathia


Things are looking up for the Twinkies through two innings at Minneapolis’ Target Field.

Minnesota ace Francisco Liriano struck out Yankees leadoff man Derek Jeter to open the first inning,
then promptly retired Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira on balls that did
not get out of the infield.

CC Sabathia escaped a Denard Span single with a little damage control in the bottom of the frame, accepting a free out on a sacrifice bunt by Orlando Hudson and then fanning All-Star catcher Joe Mauer before inducing a groundball against Delmon Young.

With two outs in the top of the second, Liriano walked Marcus Thames and allowed a soft single to Jorge Posada.  But Curtis Granderson, he of the .228/.341/.447 regular-season batting line with runners in scoring position, was quickly retired on a liner to first base.

Sabathia nailed Jim Thome in the bicep to lead off the bottom of the second inning, which injected a little energy into the Target Field crowd.  That energy turned to pandemonium just three pitches later as Michael Cuddyer launched a monstrous two-run blast to straightaway center field, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.

Let’s get a weather update out of the way for those who still believe that Minnesota is covered in snow 90% of the year and does not participate in the season called autumn.  The temperature at game time was 63 degrees with no blizzards in sight, and even warmer temperatures are on tap for Game 2.  Target Field is rocking because, for now at least, the home team is winning.

Nathan Eovaldi expects to pitch out of bullpen if Yankees reach ALDS

New York Yankees starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)
AP Photo/Todd Kirkland
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Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.

Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.

There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.

Cardinals “optimistic” Yadier Molina will be on NLDS roster

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.

Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.

The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.