Minnesota Twins vs. Tampa Bay Rays series preview

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 31: Jose Berrios #17 of the Minnesota Twins throws in the second inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 31, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 31: Jose Berrios #17 of the Minnesota Twins throws in the second inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 31, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /
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OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 21: Brandon Lowe #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits an RBI double during the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on June 21, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 21: Brandon Lowe #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits an RBI double during the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on June 21, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

About the Rays

The Rays have been a surprising team throughout the past two seasons, as they continue to dump talent but keep winning in spite of it. Coming into this three-game set, the Rays stand at 45-33 and are 4 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the competitive American League East. Tampa Bay also leads the American League Wild Card, holding the top spot by 2 1/2 games over the Cleveland Indians.

Despite their current standing, the Rays come into Target Field reeling as they plow through a stretch of 34 games in 34 days. Tampa Bay’s play has faded during that stretch as they’ve gone 4-9 in their past 13 games and their offensive production has dropped down to 3.7 runs per game during that stretch.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Eduardo A. Encina also noted that the starters ERA has increased during the 34-game stretch as they’ve registered a 5.21 ERA and the bullpen has logged 92 2/3 innings. While he mentions that the Rays’ opener strategy has contributed to that, there may be fatigue setting in on the Rays.

Despite any fatigue, the Rays still have several players to keep an eye on. Austin Meadows has cooled off after a fast start, but is still hitting .304 with 12 HR and 41 RBI and Brandon Lowe is having a breakout season with a .282 average to go with 15 HR and 46 RBI.

The Rays are still a dangerous team that, at their best, can put runs on the board with the best of them, but if the Twins can neutralize their power, they could take advantage during this series.

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