The (tied with the freaking Kansas City Royals for) second place (boo!) Minnesota Twins head home this week to take on the Angels, who are also in second place in the AL West. Last time we saw Los Angeles, the Twins took three out of four games in the series. That was on the road, though, and we all know about the funky home and away splits this year. Despite starting the month of June well in that series, the Twins ended up with a losing record for the month for the first time this season.
Over the last week, the bats have been a bit quiet. The team is hitting .240/.310/.346, which is pretty not good. Even more disturbingly, they have struck out almost three times as often as they have walked. The news isn’t all bad though. Eddie Rosario is still red-hot; and Joe Mauer has been his usual, steady self. Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler are scuffling. So is All-Star Miguel Sano (eff you Jose Ramirez, Indians’ fans, and the entire city of Cleveland), but he has stroked two dongs in the last few days, so may be turning it around.
The rotation is lining up to be exactly the same for the Twins as last go-around with the Angels, with Adalberto Mejia, Kyle Gibson, and Ervin Santana getting the starts. Gibson took a win last series, and Santana had one of his roughest outings of the season in the loss. The Angels also line up a couple hurlers we saw in June.
Adalberto Mejia is projected to start game one for the Twins. In his first and only start against the Angels, he went six innings, giving up only one run on five hits. He walked two batters, and struck out five. Old friend Alex Meyer, his opponent for both then and now, matched that stat line almost to a T, just with one fewer strikeout. A home run by Kole Calhoun was the one run Mejia surrendered, which Miguel Sano matched with one of his own off Meyer. Hopefully Mejia gets the upper-hand this time around.
Kyle Gibson will once again face off against JC Ramirez for the second game of the series. Gibson earned the win last time with a very Gibson-y start — 5.2 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs. We have seen effectiveness in his last couple starts, giving up only 6 runs and a .219 BABIP. Since Gibson is at his best when he keeps the ball on the ground, that BABIP is an encouraging sign, and hopefully something he can build off. Last time the Twins saw Ramirez, it did not go well for him. He was chased after 4.1 innings, and Robbie Grossman, Max Kepler, and Joe Mauer (!!!) all launched dingers.
Ervin Santana had a very rocky outing against the Angels, giving up seven runs in four innings, all on homeruns. The most notable of these, of course, was Albert Pujols’ 600th career homerun. Big Erv is coming off another rocky start in game one of the Kansas City series, which actually bodes well this year, as he has had a tendency to follow rough starts with brilliant ones. The Angels, however, have lit him up over his career. Their team is hitting .335/.393/.497 against our ace, and Pujols and Calhoun both have two homeruns, while Andrelton Simmons and Mike Trout each have one. Luckily for the Twins, Trout is still coming back from injury and not traveling with the Angels to Minnesota for this series. Parker Bridwell, who the Twins have never faced, is scheduled to pitch for LA in this game. He has a 3.95 ERA this year.
Hopefully the Twins can get things turned around here, and not see themselves slip into third place in the AL Central.
Game 1: Monday July 3rd 7:10 pm ct — Adalberto Mejia LHP vs. Alex Meyer RHP
Game 2: Tuesday July 4th 1:10 pm ct — Kyle Gibson RHP vs. JC Ramirez RHP
Game 3: Wednesday July 5th 7:10 pm ct -- Ervin Santana RHP vs. Parker Bridwell RHP
- Mike Trout took batting practice this week, but will need to go on a rehab assignment before joining the Angels, so we shouldn’t see him for this series.
- Ehire Adrianza could come back from the DL any day. With a 3-man bench, that would probably mean demoting a pitcher, but Kennys Vargas could be the odd-man out.
- July 3rd (Monday) is “Welcome home Rod and Rhonda Carew” night at Target Field, with promotions celebrating the Twins’ great, and the 40th anniversary of his MVP season and 50th anniversary of his ROY season.
- Happy Independence day everybody. Stay safe and have fun!
How many games do the Twins win against the Angels?
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