The Tampa Bay Rays (20-16) travel to Target Field to take on the Minnesota Twins (19-16) for a weekend series. The Rays have won three straight and six of their last ten games. The Twins have also been hot, winning six of their last ten games.
It’s only May, and looking at the Wild Card standings can be foolish, but the Twins are a .5 game back of the Rays for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. It’s impressive that the Twins have turned it around after a rough start. However, they are just 5-10 against teams with records over .500. The Twins can make a statement by winning this weekend series at home.
3 Players to Watch
1. Brian Dozier comes into the weekend series riding a six game hitting streak. Over the last ten games he’s hitting .300 with two home runs and five runs batted in. Against the Tigers, Dozier went 5-13 with a triple. He’ll look to stay hot against the Rays this weekend.
2. Phil Hughes has won his last two starts. Don’t get too excited. It hasn’t been pretty for Hughes in 2015. He’s 2-4 with a 5.11 earned run average. He’s given up nine home runs already teams are hitting .345 off him. He has earned the win in his past two starts, but his earned run average has risen. After giving up just 16 home runs the year before, Hughes has already given up nine home runs this season. Hughes has given up at least one home run in six of his seven starts. Hughes will start tonight and has a chance to set the tone of the series by giving the Twins a quality start.
3. Kyle Gibson has been the Twins best pitcher. Gibson has made three starts this month and has gone 2-0 with a 0.43 earned run average. Overall, Gibson is 3-2 with a 2.70 earned run average. Gibson will get the ball in the final game of the series on Sunday and will look to stay in a groove.
Runs could be hard to come by for the Twins this weekend at Target Field. They will be facing two pitchers that are currently in the top ten for earned run average. They’ll take on Jake Odorizzi tonight and Chris Archer Sunday. Odorizzi owns a 2.09 earned run average and Archer owns a 2.59 earned run average. If the Twins want to be taken seriously as a contender, these are the type of series that they have to start winning.