Minnesota Twins series preview: Tampa Bay Rays
By Chris Schad
Thursday – Martin Perez (7-1, 2.95 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (5-0, 2.54 ERA)
Friday – Jose Berrios (7-2, 3.20 ERA) vs. TBD
Saturday – Kyle Gibson (5-2, 4.08 ERA) vs. TBD
Sunday – Jake Odorizzi (7-2, 2.16 ERA) vs. TBD
In the opener of the series, Martin Perez will look to keep his early season success going against Charlie Morton. Perez is coming off a five-inning start where he gave up two runs against the Los Angeles Angels on May 23 , but has been a pleasant surprise for the Twins all season long. His opponent in Morton is a formidable foe who is currently setting career lows in ERA, K/9 (11.5), and WHIP (1.16).
From there, the probables look a little sketchy. As masters of “The Opener” strategy, it’s possible we may not know who the Rays starter is until a little closer to game time. What we do know is that the Twins won’t see Tampa Bay ace Blake Snell, who started against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
For the Twins, Berrios will look to continue his strong start to the season without the occasional high wire act. Although 25-year old allowed four runs in his last start against the Chicago White Sox, only one was an earned run and with a couple extra days rest, he should be ready to go on Saturday.
Gibson is coming off his best start of the season going seven innings, allowing one earned run and striking out nine against the White Sox. In his last four starts, Gibson has been even more effective, going 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA that has been a strong rebound from his early season struggles.
Odorizzi will make his second start against the Rays after being traded to Minnesota prior to the 2017 season. His other start came on July 13, 2017, where he lasted just 4.1 innings while allowing six runs (five earned). Odorizzi has looked like a different pitcher this year however and will look to continue his hot streak.