After dropping three of four to Cleveland (sorry for the reminder), the Minnesota Twins had a day off in Brew Town yesterday before they take on the Milwaukee Brewers tonight and tomorrow. After the two-game series, the team will head to Texas, where Bob Wills is still the king, and take on the Texas Rangers for a four-game set.
The Twins start things off with some interleague action against the Brew Crew, whom they split a series with back in late May. The Brewers are currently sitting in third place in the National League Central, 2.5 games back of the Chicago Cubs and half of a game behind the St Louis Cardinals. They had been in first place various parts of the season so far, but since the beginning of July, they’ve gone 17-18 and including series losses to divisional foes Cincinatti Reds (twice!), Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago Cubs (which was a sweep). They’ve also dropped series to the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics since that time. On the other hand, they just swept Pittsburgh and took two out of three from the Rangers.
Milwaukee's face-of-the-franchise and home-run connoisseur Christian Yelich has been sidelined with a back issue, but is expected to return for today’s game. He’s tied for the home run crown with Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels; each have 39 to their name. Mike Moustakas has been putting together a decent year, hitting 27 homers with 63 RBI, batting .259/.328/.511 and home-grown rookie Keston Hiura has been putting together a good season so far, playing in 55 games at second base, batting .299/.367/.588 with 14 homers and 32 RBI.
The Milwaukee rotation is pretty banged up, as three out of five regular starters are sitting on the Injured List at the moment. The Bomba Squad will see righty Chase Anderson for tonight’s matchup. He’s been in 23 games, starting 18 times, and has posted a 3.70 ERA (122 ERA+) and allowing 14 homers (1.3 HR/9), a WHIP of 1.204, and about one strikeout per inning. The Brewers have not announced any plan for Wednesday’s game yet, but lefty Gio Gonzalez (3.20 ERA, 142 ERA+, 50.2 IP) would be in line to start, otherwise fellow lefty Drew Pomeranz could get the nod as well in a spot-start.
The Twins then head to Texas, who are 18 games back from the Houston Astros in the A.L. West and 9.5 games back from a Wild Card spot. Minnesota took two out of three games from this Rangers team in the final series before the All-Star Break in early July, and have floundered a bit since then, including a stretch of 1-9 baseball against the Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston again, and the Seattle Mariners. Since then, they’ve played .500 baseball.
Their best batter right now is uh.... former Twins player Danny Santana, who is hitting .308/.339/.569 with 18 homers and 50 RBI. That is not a typo. Joey Gallo has hit the IL with a broken hamate bone, and I’m sure the team misses his 22 homers and 49 RBI that he had before he was injured. Roughned Odor, whose contract said he gets horses, owns 20 homers, but is only hitting .205/.277/.432 on the season. Shin-Soo Choo, who is still around, has 19 homers to his name and is batting a bit better at .274/.374/.483.
As for the pitching side, the Rangers have confirmed that young righty Pedro Payano will start Thursday’s contest. He’s started three games for Texas, going 18.2 innings total in five total games with a 3.86 ERA, allowing eight earned runs, two homers, and 14 strikeouts against 12 walks. Probables for the rest of the weekend series includes some lefty named Mike Minor (24 games, 2.90 ERA, 176 ERA+, 9.2 K/9), Ariel Jurado (24 games, 14 starts, 4.74 ERA, 1.376 WHIP), and a re-vitalized Lance Lynn (24 games, 3.60 ERA, 142 ERA+, 10.3 K/9).
How many games do you think the Twins will win this week?
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