Minnesota Twins series preview: Twins make final trip to Globe Life Park to face Rangers
By Chris Schad
After the Minnesota Twins came close to sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers, they’ll head to Globe Life Park for the final time to face the Texas Rangers.
When this article was first being constructed, things were looking pretty good for the Minnesota Twins. Armed with a late lead against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Twins were on the verge of picking up an important two-game sweep while also expanding their slim lead in the American League Central.
All of those good feelings went away with one bad pitch by Sergio Romo, however, and when the smoke cleared, the Twins were on a plane to Arlington to face the Texas Rangers in what will be another important series.
While this will be the Twins’ final trip to Globe Life Park in Arlington (they will open Globe Life Field next door beginning in 2020), there will be no time for sentimental value. The Rangers are trying to make their own charge for an American League wild card spot and if the Twins aren’t careful, they may create more questions than answers.
About the Twins
Following dropping a crucial divisional series with the Cleveland Indians at home over the weekend, the Twins had a roller coaster series with the Brewers. Both games came down to the wire and reminded Twins fans what playoff race baseball was like nine years after their last legitimate push for an AL Central title.
After taking the first game against the Brewers thanks to a Marwin Gonzalez three-run homer in the eighth inning on Tuesday, Milwaukee returned the favor, picking up a 6-5 win thanks to a three-run, eighth-inning homer off of Romo on Wednesday afternoon. The split coupled with Cleveland dropping two of three games with the Boston Red Sox put the Twins 1/2 game ahead of the Indians, but still left several questions about their bullpen.
Sam Dyson returned to the bullpen with two scoreless innings in Milwaukee, but the rest of the ‘pen struggled as Ryne Harper coughed up a three-run home run to Yasmani Grandal that put the Twins behind on Tuesday night before Gonzalez’s clutch homer. Also of note was that the Twins didn’t even use Taylor Rogers after his tenth-inning meltdown on Sunday afternoon.
While the lineup got going a little bit with five home runs in the two-game series at Miller Park, things won’t be easy until the bullpen finds a way to get its act together.
About the Rangers
The Rangers’ postseason hopes are on life support at this time of the season as they sit 17 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros in the American League West and 10 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card spot in the AL. With the Rangers going 4-6 in their last 10 games, perhaps they are second-guessing their decision not to sell at the deadline, but they seem focused on playing spoiler regardless.
Texas is coming off a series in which they dropped two of three games with the Toronto Blue Jays and a lot of their current struggles have been based off an offense that hasn’t been scoring runs lately.
In their 7-3 win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon, the Rangers scored a third of their runs (21) over their recent nine-game road trip. That game also ended a stretch where Texas had played 19 of their past 24 games on the road.
The good news for the Rangers is that they’ll return to Globe Life Park, where they’ve played pretty well this year. In the final season before moving into a retractable roof ballpark next door, the Rangers have gone 35-22 at home and will look to make things difficult on the Twins this weekend.
Thursday (7:05 p.m. CT): TBD vs. Pedro Payano (1-1, 3.86 ERA)
Friday (7:05 p.m. CT): TBD vs. Mike Minor (11-6, 2.90 ERA)
Saturday (7:05 p.m. CT): TBD vs. Ariel Jurado (6-8, 5.31 ERA)
Sunday (2:05 p.m. CT): TBD vs. Lance Lynn (14-8, 3.54 ERA)
It appears that the Twins are going to play their starters close to the vest as they have not announced a single starter for this series. If Minnesota were to stick to their current rotation, the quartet of Devin Smeltzer, Jake Odorizzi, Jose Berrios and Martin Perez would all make starts this weekend, but we’ll see what the Twins decide to do as the weekend rolls along.
For the Rangers, they’ll have a pair of interesting matchups as Mike Minor and Lance Lynn will both face the Twins after being named potential trade targets last month. If the Twins get shut down by both, it will further fan the flames for those who believe the front office should have acquired a starting pitcher at the trade deadline.