By: Dan Cole | KFAN.com
The Twins, having just concluded a nine-game homestand during which they won just two games, are taking to the road this week for a nine game trip.
The road trip will begin with three games in Atlanta, followed by four in Detroit and two in Milwaukee.
The series with the Braves (25-18) will mark the Twins' (18-22) third interleague series of the season, having previously faced both the Mets and Marlins at Target Field. The Twins are 1-3 in interleague play this season, having only beaten the Marlins 4-3 back on April 23.
The Braves are currently leading the NL East by 2.5 games and are coming off a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers last weekend. They possess a great deal of power at the plate, currently standing at fourth in the majors in home runs with 55, thanks largely in part to outfielder Justin Upton, who leads the majors with 14 dingers.
The Braves also rank fourth in the league in walks with 155, but have struck out almost more than any other team, currently sitting at second with 397 whiffs.
Slated to start for the Twins in the series are Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley. They will be facing a Braves pitching staff that is fifth in the league with a 3.43 ERA, compared to a 4.47 ERA for Minnesota, good enough for 25th in the majors. Julio Teheran, Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm are scheduled to start for Atlanta in the series. Both Teheran and Hudson are coming off losses in their previous starts.
The Detroit Tigers (23-19), who the Twins will face for a four-game series following their matchup with the Braves, are currently ranked second in the AL Central, just two games back from the division-leading Cleveland Indians. The Tigers will play a two-game series at Cleveland before facing the Twins this week. Minnesota is 3-3 against Detroit so far this season, having faced the Tigers both at home and at Comerica Park. The six meetings between the two teams this season have been fairly close, with the combined score being 24-23 in favor of Detroit.
Miguel Cabrera, who won the AL MVP and Triple Crown for the Tigers last season, is back on that same track in 2013. He leads the majors in hitting with a .387 average and in RBIs with 47. He's currently seventh in the league in home runs with 11, as well. In 22 at-bats against the Twins this season, Cabrera is batting .273 with one home run and seven RBIs.
As a team, Detroit leads the majors in team batting with a .280 average, as well as in runs (222), hits (427) and RBIs (218), making them the most capable offensive team in the league this season.
After facing the Tigers, the Twins will begin the following week with a two-game series in Milwaukee which will conclude the road trip before returning home for two more against the Brewers.
By: Dan Cole | KFAN.com
The past week was a rough one for the Minnesota Twins.
After winning four games the week before, including three wins against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, the Twins (18-22) picked up just one win in six home games against the White Sox and Red Sox last week. They were outscored 36-24 during the six-game stretch and reached double-digits in hits just three times, allowing themselves to fall further below the .500 mark and to last place in the AL Central.
The week began with a three-game series against the visiting Chicago White Sox (19-23), who had just lost two of three against the Angels the weekend before.
The first game of the series night was the Aaron Hicks show. The rookie blasted two solo homers in the fourth and sixth innings in addition to robbing White Sox slugger Adam Dunn of a potentially game-tying two-run homer in the top of the sixth. Hicks received a curtain call after the second homerun en route to a 10-3 Twins victory.
It was the first time this season that Twins fans had seen the hype surrounding Hicks become reality, and created a lot of optimism that maybe his early season struggles were behind him. He did, however, then finish the week 1-for-17, turning his Monday night performance into a mirage of what could be.
The Twins followed the excitement and commanding victory of Monday night by dropping the final two games of the series against the White Sox.
Tuesday night's game was a pitching duel between Kevin Correia and Jake Peavy. Tied 2-2 going into the eighth inning, Correia faltered first, giving up two runs and the game for the Twins, who lost 4-2.
Then, on Wendesday afternoon, Twins starter Mike Pelfrey was chased off the mound in the fifth inning by the hot bats of Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo, both of whom homered off of Pelfrey. The White Sox took that contest 9-4, walking away with two of three at Target Field.
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau stood out offensively against Chicago, going 7-for-14 with four RBIs and two runs scored in the series. He now leads the Twins with 29 RBIs on the season.
With the Red Sox (27-17) coming to town over the weekend, the Twins had reason to expect success. Despite Boston's impressive record and offensive numbers, the Twins had just defeated them three times at Fenway Park the week before, including a 15-8 beating in one of the games.
Success, however, was not achieved. The Twins were swept by the Red Sox in disappointing fashion.
On Friday night, the teams went into extra innings before Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes drove in the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th, as Boston won 3-2. Twins starter Vance Worley, who has been struggling to find his groove on the mound this season, had arguably his best outing on Friday, allowing zero earned runs on six hits in six innings of work.
Saturday's and Sunday's games were not as close. Twins left-hander Scott Diamond got lit up in just 4.1 innings on Saturday, as Boston teed off on him for six runs early on, on their way to a 12-5 win.
The series concluded with a rainy contest on Sunday afternoon in a game that included a three-hour delay due to weather. The Twins were shut down by Red Sox starter John Lackey, who shut them out through six innings. Boston would claim the series finale 5-1.
Trevor Plouffe went 4-for-11 in the Boston series with two double and an RBI, increasing his batting average to .252 this season.
This Twins take the the road this week for a nine-game trip against the Braves, Tigers and Brewers.
By: Dan Cole | KFAN.com
After picking up quality starts in his previous two appearances, Twins starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey revisited his early season struggles once again on Wednesday afternoon, as the Twins fell to the White Sox 9-4 at Target Field in the rubber match of the three-game series.
Pelfrey (3-4) gave up three runs in six innings against the Orioles last Friday and one run in six innings against the Indians on May 5, but left Wednesday’s game early after giving up five runs on eight hits in four innings of work.
Opposite Pelfrey was White Sox right-hander Dylan Axelrod, who gave up three earned runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings pitched on Wednesday. He picked up his first win of the season, improving his record to 1-3.
The Twins (18-19) jumped ahead of the Sox (17-21) early, scoring a run in each of the first two innings thanks to an RBI-single from Josh Willingham and a solo-homerun from Eduardo Escobar, his second of the season.
The White Sox then received offense from the power of Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo, both of whom helped the Sox get on the board early. Dunn cranked a two-run shot in the top of the third, followed by a solo-dinger from Vicideo an inning later.
The duo also picked up an RBI apiece in the top of the fifth, giving the Sox a 5-2 lead and chasing Pelfrey off the mound.
Dunn would add another two-run homer in the top of the eighth, his ninth of the year, giving him five RBIs on Wednesday.
Twins reliever Anthony Swarzak replaced Pelfrey in the fifth, going two innings while allowing just one hit and one walk.
Jamie Carroll and Joe Mauer both recorded three-hit games for the Twins, as Mauer extended his hitting streak to 14 games, as well. Carroll picked up an RBI-single in the bottom of the sixth to bring the Twins within two.
White Sox outfielder Alex Rios tallied three hits of his own, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored on the day.
The Twins are now setting their sights on a three-game home series against the Red Sox this weekend, who they swept in Boston just last week.