Tuesday: Blake Snell (4-6, 4.40 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (7-4, 4.18 ERA)
Gibson is starting to develop a reputation of having Good Kyle and Bad Kyle in his aresenal. When Good Kyle shows up, Gibson is aggressive in the strike zone and usually makes the offense adapt to him. When Bad Kyle shows up, Gibson can’t find the strike zone and tends to nibble when he does get ahead. Last time out, Bad Kyle was in rare form, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox. The Rays lineup is powerful, so Gibson will need to be on his game.
Meanwhile, Blake Snell has struggled in defense of his American League Cy Young Award from 2018. Much like Gibson, Snell has also ran hot and cold this season, with his last start seeing him cough up six runs in 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees. Snell has the talent to be dominant, but he just hasn’t shown it enough in 2019.
Wednesday: Charlie Morton (8-1, 2.31 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (10-3, 2.58 ERA)
The second game of the series will have a pitcher’s duel between two pitchers that had success against their opponent the last time they saw them. Odorizzi is coming off a tough start allowing four runs in four innings against the Kansas City Royals, but was dominant in a June 2 start against the Rays. If he can match the form where he threw six shutout innings while striking out nine batters, Odorizzi can get back on track after allowing four earned runs in each of his past two starts.
If there has been one constant in the Rays rotation, it has been Charlie Morton. Last time out, Morton shut down the Oakland Athletics, allowing one run over 6 1/3 innings. His last time against the Twins, he held the Bomba Squad to two runs over seven innings while striking out six batters. Even with the Rays’ recent struggles on the mound, it should be fun to watch Morton and Odorizzi go at it.
Thursday: TBD vs. Martin Perez (7-3, 4.28 ERA)
The final start will likely involve an opener on Tampa Bay’s side, but will provide another opportunity for Perez to find his early season form. The numbers since Perez’s 5-0 start continue to become more damning with each start as he has failed to get past the fifth inning in six of his past eight starts. The left-hander has also compiled a 5.75 ERA during that stretch and appears to be getting worse.
In any event, the Twins will need a strong bounce back effort from their starters to take down the Rays. If they’re able to get great starting pitching, it will go a long way to getting back to their winning ways.