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This week in preview: Home sweet home against weak division rivals

Hopefully I didn’t jinx it.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins went 5-1 on their road trip against the Milwaukee Brewers and the Texas Rangers this past week. It game them a 2.5-game lead on Cleveland! This week, they get to host a couple of lesser division rivals and extend that lead as the Chicago White Sox will come to town tonight followed by Ron Gardenhire and the Detroit Tigers for a weekend series.

vs White Sox

The Bomba Squad is 7-3 against the White Sox this season. Chicago has had a pretty fruitful week compared to their 55-68 season so far. This last week saw them take two of three from the A.L. West-leading Houston Astros (!!), including dealing an L to former-Twin Ryan Pressly. On the flip side, they could only muster one win in a four-game set against the Los Angeles Angels on the west coast.

Minnesota hitters will face Ivan Nova tonight, who has two starts against the Twins - one win and one loss. His last start was a complete-game win against the Houston Astros, and since the beginning of July, he’s put together eight outings of 2.03 ERA ball, with an opponent’s batting slash of .214/.271/.328 (.599). Reynaldo Lopez, Tuesday night’s starter, has put up less-stellar numbers since the end of June (3.70 ERA, .260/.324/.375 (.699)), while All-Star Lucas Giolito has seen his numbers rise a bit since the All-Star Break (4.82 ERA, .260/.330/.486 (.816)).

Sox slugger Jose Abreu has had a hot August, batting .329 with four homers and 15 RBI. The Twins may be lucky and miss young third-baseman Yoan Moncada, who is on the 10-day Injured List with a hamstring injury, but may return for the series. He’s batting .301/.358/.535 on the season with 20 homers.

Kelvin Herrera and Josh Osich have been knocked around by the Twins this season, and they could still see them out of the bullpen this series. Herrera has faced the Twins twice this season, giving up five earned runs over 0.2 innings. Osich has put up with the Bombs Squad five times, totaling five innings and allowing seven earned runs on three bombas. On the flip side, the Twins will still see Alex Colome and Aaron Bummer. The Twins have seen Colome three times and are hitless against him while they’ve also seen Bummer three times, who’s only yielded three hits to Minnesota.

Probable Starters
Mon., Aug. 19, 7:10p Central: Ivan Nova (8-9, 4.51 ERA) v Kyle Gibson
Tues., Aug. 19, 7:10p Central: Reynaldo Lopez (7-10, 5.29) v Michael Pineda
Wed., Aug. 20, 12:10p Central: Lucas Giolito (13-6, 3.41) v Jake Odorizzi

vs Tigers

After the White Sox leave town, the Twins receive a rare off-day between home series before Detroit gets into town. Gardy’s Tigers lost both series this past week - a home series against the Seattle Mariners and a series at Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays. The last series ended with a couple of heartbreakers: a 1-0 walk-off loss in 13 innings and a 5-4 walk-off loss in regulation. Detroit is 37-84 this season and, with the exception of a handful of series splits, they have not won a series since... thumbs through paperwork ... still going through some papers ... late May... against the Baltimore Orioles. They’re visiting the Astros for a four-game set tonight through Thursday, so yeah.

No probables have been announced, of course, but off of their current rotation, we can assume that the Twins will face Matthew Boyd, Edwin Jackson, and Spencer Turnbull. If the Tigers were to have an ace, maybe it is Boyd, but his numbers since the All-Star Break have not been very impressive. He’s posted a 5.09 ERA in 8 starts, including 11 homers. He did face the Twins once this season back on June 7 in a Twins win. He didn’t receive a decisions, but went 7.0 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 8 K, 2 HR.

Jackson has been in the league since I was seventh grade, which was quite a while ago. He was with the Toronto Blue Jays this year and was released and picked up by the Tigers. I’ll just leave some generic season totals for him here: 8.62 ERA, 10 games (7 starts), 39.2 IP, 15 HR, 12.9 H/9, 1.840 WHIP... (Is that enough?)

Spencer Turnbull is home-grown from the Tigers organisation and has been with the team for most of the season after a cup of coffee last year. He did see the Bomba Squad in the first game of a May 11 doubleheader, where he went 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, HR. He’s had a couple stints on the IL with shoulder fatigue and a back strain. Since his last trip from the IL, he’s started three times, going 14.0 innings total with a 4.50 ERA and striking out 18 batters.

The Tigers’ offense is not very potent. Even Miguel Cabrera has not had much power, hitting .278/.339/.390 (.729) this season with only nine homers and 48 RBI. Nicholas Castellanos was traded across town to the Chicago Cubs earlier this year, and Christin Stewart, JaCoby Jones, and Jeimer Candelario are all on the IL and won’t see playing time anytime soon. Niko Goodrum has hit 11 homers, but Brandon Dixon has hit the most on the Detroit team with 14 total and 43 RBI.

American League Central

Cleveland is off today in New York City, so a win tonight would give the local nine a three-game lead heading into Tuesday. They (being Cleveland) will take on the New York Mets for three games in the Big Apple and then head home to host the Kansas City Royals for a three-game weekend set.

Nelson Cruz is eligible to come off the IL today, but the Twins aren’t sure if they’ll make any moves before tonight’s game.


How many games do the Twims win this week?

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  • 1%
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  • 38%
    (101 votes)
  • 44%
    (117 votes)
  • 11%
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