A.J. Burnett What2Watch4
Burnett has made six starts against the Twins as a member of the Yankees (five regular season, one in the 2009 ALDS) and the Yankees have won all of them.
In those six starts, Burnett has pitched well, allowing nine earned runs in 36 2/3 innings pitched. The key to that has been surviving the seven hitters in the lineup other than Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Those two have reached base safely in a combined 18 of 33 plate appearances against Burnett since he joined the Yankees in 2009. What's hurt the Twins is that the hitter behind them, currently-injured Michael Cuddyer, is 3-for-24 against Burnett.
Burnett may be facing some hitters unfamiliar with him. Last night's starting Twins outfield (Rene Tosoni, Ben Revere, and Trevor Plouffe) have never faced Burnett.
Francisco Liriano What2Watch4
Liriano has run very hot and cold this season. When he's on, he's unhittable (such as when he threw his no-hitter against the White Sox earlier this season). When he's off, it's a struggle.
Liriano hasn't been too great recently. He has a 7.94 ERA in August, including starts in which he gave up seven runs to the Angels and seven walks to the Red Sox. He gave up five runs in his last start to the Tigers, but won, 9-6.
An issue for Liriano of late has been his changeup. In his last three starts he's given up six hits with the pitch and only gotten three outs.
Curtis Granderson enters 4-for-22 with 12 strikeouts in the regular season against Liriano, including being 0-for-his-last-14. But remember that he had a go-ahead sixth-inning two-run triple against the Twins southpaw in Game 1 of the 2010 ALDS. The two haven't faced each other since.
Nick Swisher What2Watch4
Swisher is hitting .339 against lefties, 100 points better than what he's hitting against right-handers, but Liriano is a lefty he's currently struggling with. Swisher has not reached base in his last nine plate appearances against Liriano (including last year's postseason).
Late Game What2Watch4
David Robertson who got a day off yesterday, has been amazing in his last nine outings, allowing two hits and no walks in 9 2/3 innings pitched. One intrepid blogger has even started a Cy Young campaign for him.
Robertson has established himself as similar to Mariano Rivera in one regard. Lefties can't stand him. They are 1-for-16 against him in this current stretch.
Robertson has not allowed a run in 11 1/3 career innings against the Twins (combining regular season and postseason).