By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Twins know that taking early leads in their ALDS playoff series with the New York Yankees is not only important — but you might want to make that lead a big one.

“If [pitcher Jake Odorizzi] can get us back in the dugout, hopefully we can put up some runs,” said first baseman C.J. Cron. “That what we really need to do, we need to score runs, let those pitchers kind of work with the lead for once this series, and it’s always easy to play from ahead, so we can jump on them early and score some more runs.”

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So Monday night, Odorizzi gets his shot. He needs not to just be good early, but to stay late. If he can keep the Yankees at three runs or less over six innings, who knows.

“It’s a very good feeling every single time we’ve had Jake take the mound for us,” said manager Rocco Baldelli. “We go into those games in a very confident place. You know, right now in this series, it’s very nice to know that we can go out there and know what we’re going to get from Jake. He’s been extraordinarily consistent.”

Jake Odorizzi (credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

And don’t be surprised if you see Taylor Rogers before the ninth inning if the match up dictates. The best arm in the bull pen is yet to throw a pitch.

“That’s the way the cookie crumbles, I guess,” Rodgers said. “I love to be out there contributing, but it’s the way the game goes sometimes, and hopefully [I’ll] get my shot here, too.”

Because these are the Yankees. They make you throw strikes, and then try to punish you.

“They’re an extremely … well-prepared team. They know who they’re facing. They know us. They know what we can do and what we’re trying to do,” said pitcher Sergio Romo.

But this is Target Field, and even though the Twins were known more for their road record, you need a jump start. So maybe that happens Monday night, at home.

“Get those hankies going [laughs]!” said pitcher Tyler Duffey. “Get the crowd going, get it loud, make it uncomfortable.”

Mike Max