Thoughts on both teams before tonight’s series opener against Minnesota:

Things have been just brutal lately. The offense has more or less disappeared. Aside from Brett Gardner, the team itself has been boring as sh*t to watch too.

Once again: if Alex Rodriguez was allowed to regularly contribute to this team, they’d have at least 2-3 more wins. I’ll just leave it there!

Yankees

Impression Lately: This is as bad as I can remember a Yankees team being since 1993. Almost no offense. Seems like there’s a commitment from the front office to continuing to trot out these over-the-hill veterans simply because they’ve got EXPERIENCE. No other team would give Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson this many starts. The team is now below .500 with a 41-42 record to accompany their sickening -37 run differential. They are 2-8 in their last 10 games. It’s just been brutal lately.

Thing I Hope to See: Tanaka is on the bump tonight, so I’m hoping he’ll find some way of besting his last start. Most people probably don’t look back on it and think anything positive, given the way it ended with that bonehead fastball to Mike Napoli that was promptly deposited 315 feet into the front row of the right field seats. But Tanaka pitched a complete game and allowed only 2 runs. I’d take something better than that any day of the week. I mean, I’d also take exactly that, or even something slightly worse. Bottom line: I’m expecting Tanaka to achieve his 17th Quality Start in 17 games.

Player I Want To Watch: Zelous Wheeler was called up today, with Yangervis Solarte being sent down as the corresponding move. It’s a shame because Solarte’s first two months were a lot of fun to watch, and his versatility as a switch hitter was even more tantalizing. But now it’s time to look toward a man with an equally fun name and similar abilities. Wheeler is capable of playing most positions sans catcher and 1B. I like the flexibility he gives Girardi in the field, and I hope he can hit well enough to justify starts over guys like Soriano, Roberts and Kelly.

Twins

Impression Lately: The Twins have been bad all season. They have a -30 run differential – which is still better than the Yankees – but that accompanies a 38-45 record, which is good for last place in the AL Central. They are 3-7 in their last 10 games and are coming off a 4-0 loss to the Royals.

Thing I’m Expecting Tonight: Phil Hughes has been a revelation for the Twins since signing with them in the offseason. He’s 8-4 with a 3.58 ERA (2.60 FIP/3.31 xFIP) and has a K/9 of 7.69 in exactly 103 IP. Where was this output when he was a member of the pinstripes? Why did you wait until now to do what we all hoped and dreamed, Phil? Anyway – I expect Hughes to compete with Tanaka, but perhaps fall a bit short. I think the Yankees are familiar with whom they’re facing in Hughes and so the bats might wake up against someone they know so well. Then again, I wouldn’t say my expectations of this happening are especially high.

Player I’m Afraid Of: Brian Dozier. He’s a sneaky good player – in just about every way. He’s hitting .232/.345/.416 but has 15 HR, 38 RBI, 15 SB and a wRC+ of 116…and he’s a second baseman. He leads the team in WAR (2.8) by a sizable margin. He’s someone who should not be underestimated.