The Minnesota Twins will look to finish the first half of the season with a strong showing in a 3-game series against the Texas Rangers.
With the Minnesota Twins 4-6 in their last 10 games and a division lead slowly disappearing, a solid series against Texas will be crucial heading into the break. With quite a few players still working through minor injuries, the Twins welcome the All-Star break with open arms.
The Texas Rangers
Though Texas is in 3rd place in the AL West, they still have a fighting chance to be playing baseball come October. The Rangers trail the division-leading Houston Astros by a healthy 8 games while they’re only a half-game behind the Oakland Athletics. Being 1-4 in their last five games will definitely give this club some motivation to come out swinging tonight in Minnesota. No team wants to head into the break after losing a series.
The Rangers, like the Twins, also have quite a few players worthy of All-Star Game consideration. Mike Minor was the only Rangers pitcher selected to the team with a record of 8-4 and a 2.54 ERA in 18 games. Hunter Pence who is having a surprisingly outstanding year was also voted in as the starting DH in this year’s ASG contest.
Joey Gallo will be the only Ranger to actually compete in this year’s Midsummer Classic as Minor is slated to pitch Sunday and Pence is dealing with a lingering injury. Gallo was voted on this year’s AL roster as a reserve and should see playing time later in the evening.
Tonight’s contest will be an intriguing one as former Rangers pitcher Martin Perez will face off against Adrian Sampson. Perez got off to a hot start right out of the gate this year but has cooled considerably since then with a 7-3 record and an ERA of 4.15. In his last 7 games, he has an ERA of 6.00 with only 29 strikeouts and 16 walks.
Michael Pineda will start on the bump for the Minnesota Twins tomorrow afternoon as he faces off against Rangers righty Jesse Chavez. After a rough start to the season, “Big Mike” has been solid as of late with an ERA of 3.86 and a record of 2-1 in his last 7 starts. Pineda had a brilliant start against the White Sox in his last outing where he secured 8 strikeouts in 6 innings pitched while only allowing 1 earned run.
Minor will indeed get the call to face the Twins on Sunday before the All-Star festivities kick-off Monday evening. The Twins have yet to name a starter for that game with Berrios and Gibson just pitching and Odorizzi hitting the IL. Lewis Thorpe, who had a solid first MLB outing, should be in consideration to get the start Sunday afternoon.
With Minnesota kicking off the second half of the season in Cleveland (where the ASG happens to be) you won’t see them back at home until Tuesday, June 16th. Make sure to get out to Target Field and support your AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins. Let’s hope they end the first half of the season with a bang.