W2W4: Twins at Yankees (April 18)

Jason Marquis Matchups to Watch

This could be the rare instance in which you would want to put Andruw Jones in the lineup against a right-handed starter.

Jones is 9-for-12 with five home runs against Marquis, and has hits in his last eight(!) at-bats against him, but here’s the catch: All of the at-bats took place from 2004 to 2007.

The other catch is that your other DH candidate, Raul Ibanez, is 8-for-23 (including postseason) against Marquis, including 4-for-6 last season.

After giving up a lot of home runs early in his career, Marquis has evolved into a ground-ball pitcher. His 56 percent ground-ball rate ranked eighth-highest among starting pitchers last season.

Marquis will be making his Twins debut. He’s started against the Yankees once before in 2005, a game in which he won, allowing one run in eight innings.

Hiroki Kuroda Matchups to Watch

Look for the Twins to load up their lineup with lefties against Kuroda. The Angels had a lineup that was equally balanced between lefties and righties when Kuroda faced them on Friday and they did not fare well.

We had expressed some concerns about how Kuroda would handle the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium, but he easily passed his first test. After allowing seven hits to Rays lefty hitters in Tampa, he only allowed three to the 14 Angels hitters he faced.

In fact, the Angels lefties did not hit a ball in the air to right field the entire game. That’s partly because Kuroda worked away to lefties slightly more than he normally does.

Of his 51 pitches to left-handed hitters, 28 were to the outer-third or further away.

Kuroda has only faced two Twins hitters previously, most notably Josh Willingham, who is 1-for-9 with four strikeouts against him.

Jeter Watch

Derek Jeter has an RBI in three straight games. If he gets one tonight, he’ll match his longest streak of games with an RBI from last season. His personal-best is nine straight games, set in 2004.

Look out for Morneau

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has hit right-handed pitchers well this season, with nine hits in 28 at-bats. He’s been smart when righties have worked him in the lower-third of the strike zone, netting four line-drive hits against balls thrown to that area.

That pesky RBI thing

Yankees cleanup hitters do not have an RBI yet this season. Why? It’s pretty simple. They are 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

In fairness to Robinson Cano, he’s only had two shots at hitting with a runner in scoring position in the No. 4 slot and on one of those, he was walked.