MINNEAPOLIS -- Chase Whitley didn’t look like a substitute at first.
Whitley, 25, was mainly a reliever in the minor leagues but found success after he was plugged into the Yankees’ injury-depleted starting rotation. He allowed no more than three earned runs in any of his first seven starts before being shelled for 11 hits and eight earned runs in a June 23 loss at Toronto.
New York Yankees
Whitley (3-2) took the loss on Sunday against the Boston Red Sox and now looks to turn his fortunes around on Friday as he gets the start at Target Field.
“His location is extremely important, against the right-handers his slider becomes important as well,” manager Joe Girardi said. “When he gets those two things going, he’ll be fine.”
Minnesota might have what Whitley needs -- a relatively quiet offense. The Twins’ .244 average is tied for third-worst in the American League, even though Minnesota nabbed a career-high nine hits and four earned runs off Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka in New York’s 7-4 win Thursday night.
Girardi equated Whitley’s struggles to Tanaka’s growing pains.
“Sometimes you don’t have your really good stuff; you saw it last night with Tanaka,” Girardi said. “That’s part of being a successful pitcher; it’s learning how to pitch when you don’t have your great stuff, because you won’t from time to time. I think he’ll bounce back.”
Under the radar: Yankees closer David Robertson's 19 saves are enough for fourth in the American League, yet the Yankees feel that he’s flown under the radar.
Robertson replaced one of the all-time greats in Mariano Rivera, whose 652 career saves top the all-time list.
“Maybe with the emergence of [Dellin] Betances, him being the talk of our bullpen in a sense, Robertson has fallen under,” Girardi said. “Maybe it’s expected in New York you’re supposed to be that good with the guy we had.”
Across the other bullpen, the Twins also boast one of the best closers in baseball in Glen Perkins. His 20 saves are third in the AL.
Striving for consistency: Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson (7-6) will get his first start of the season against the New York Yankees on Friday. He's 1-1 with a 8.71 ERA in two career games against the Yankees, both in 2013.
Gibson has three wins in his past four decisions and is coming off a season-high eight innings in a win at the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
McCann’s foot was briefly examined during Thursday’s game at first base after a single. There’s little worry about any long-term damage, as both McCann and Girardi say he’ll just need a day of rest.
After playing seven straight games, Jeter will take the day off.
“[Today] is a day game after a night game. He also played a day game after a night game previously at home,” Girardi said.