Luke Voit was emotional when he implored New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone for increased playing time earlier this week.
Voit has backed up his plea, and it is coinciding with the Yankees going on their best run of the season.
The Yankees will be hard-pressed to keep Voit out of the lineup Saturday afternoon when they host the Minnesota Twins and go for their season-high ninth straight victory.
New York kept rolling when it recorded a 10-2 win Friday night for its first win by more than five runs since Aug. 4. Voit went 4-for-5 with four RBIs, getting a two-run single, an RBI double and a solo homer.
Voit is hitting .500 (11-for-22) over his past six games, a stretch that includes Tuesday, when he drove in three runs in a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox and afterward said he deserved to play as much as Anthony Rizzo.
“He’s a good player and a good hitter,” Boone said. “He’s lost a lot of at-bats dealing with different injuries this year, so I know that part’s been frustrating for him, but when he’s in the lineup, he’s a really good hitter in this league.
“So, I’m sure everyone’s going to draw every conclusion like everyone always does that it’s because of this. It’s not because of that — he’s a good hitter. He’s a good player and he’s gotten some big hits for us here over the last week and a big night tonight.”
Rizzo’s acquisition was necessitated by Voit’s three stints on the injured list. There was a chance the 2020 major league home run leader could have gotten traded, especially if Giancarlo Stanton had been unable to play the outfield.
Stanton has made a seamless transition to the field, creating at-bats at designated hitter for Voit to the benefit of New York, which is 20-5 since dropping three of four at Boston from July 22-25.
The Twins are hoping Saturday goes significantly better than the first two games of this series. With slugger Miguel Sano on the paternity list, Minnesota mustered only four hits Friday.
Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer and Jorge Polanco went 0-for-4 after driving in three runs in Thursday’s 7-5 loss, but the Twins took solace in getting five innings from rookie Charlie Barnes to aid an overtaxed bullpen.
“Getting as many pitches and as many outs as we could was very important. He knew that,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “You may not see the benefits of it now, but (now) we’re not behind in the bullpen.”
The Twins are 10-27 against the Yankees since the start of the 2015 season (2-16 in their past 18 games in New York) and will face Gerrit Cole (11-6, 3.04 ERA) in Saturday’s affair.
Cole will make his second start after a successful return from COVID-19 on Monday. After not pitching since July 29 and missing 12 games while experiencing mild symptoms, Cole allowed one run, two hits and recorded nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Cole is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two career starts against the Twins. He last faced them June 9 in Minnesota when he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings of a 9-6 win while getting two of his nine strikeouts on Donaldson, who had questioned him and other pitchers for using foreign substances amid baseball’s crackdown.
Minnesota, which has used 32 pitchers so far this season, starts Kenta Maeda (6-4, 4.41).
Maeda last pitched in a 12-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays a week ago when he allowed three hits in six innings.
Maeda is 3-1 with a 2.98 ERA in his past eight starts and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven of those. Before his effective eight-start stretch, Maeda was 3-3 with a 5.56 ERA in his first 12 outings.
Maeda is facing the Yankees for the first time.
–Field Level Media