Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins Series Preview

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Two teams, coming off disappointing sweeps, look to right their ships. The Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers face off in a weekend series.

Two managers of teams not expected to compete for the division title are upset over their teams’ most recent play. Brad Ausmus is disgusted with the Detroit Tigers’ defense that led to a sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays.

For Paul Molitor, he once again got some decent starts from his pitching staff, only to see his offense fail to produce runs, even with lots of scoring opportunities.

The Tigers were outscored 21-9 by the Rays, but Wednesday’s game was still in the balance in the ninth inning. Detroit was leading Tampa Bay 8-7, with none out and the bases loaded on a double and two walks by closer Francisco Rodriguez – one intentional.

K-Rod appeared to wiggle off the hook, getting a strikeout, and then inducing a ground ball to second base. The throw to second recorded the second out of the inning, but Jose Iglesias tripped over second base and his ensuing throw flew high over first base allowing the tying and winning runs to score.

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The Twins, meanwhile, faced the defending A.L. champion Indians. But these Indians were scuffling on the mound, coming in with the worst ERA in baseball. No matter, the anemic-hitting Twins let them off the hook repeatedly in getting swept (Wednesday’s game was rained out).

Against the one pitcher for Cleveland who came in not struggling, Danny Salazar, the Twins loaded the bases on three hits (none of them of the infield variety) without scoring a run in the first inning.

In the second, with Salazar seemingly on the ropes, the Twins scored a run and had runners at first and third with no outs before a strikeout, pop-out, strikeout ending to the inning failed to score any insurance runs.

Salazar shut the door from there. Meanwhile, Kyle Gibson allowed two runs to score in the next half-inning to give the Indians momentum.

The next day was possibly the worst game of the 2017 season for the Twins. An error by Max Kepler in right field with two outs cost the Twins two early runs and turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-0 hole.

Phil Hughes threw strikes once again, but couldn’t miss enough bats and took the loss. The Twins bullpen, strong until this game, couldn’t find a combination to keep Cleveland off the scoreboard as the Indians ran the bases to an 11-4 win.

Minnesota appeared to be ready to cash in their Ervin Santana win chip in Thursday’s finale, but Santana’s own control problems limited him to just six innings. While he allowed but one run, Deep counts, and three walks contributed to 116 pitches (only 66 for strikes).

Again, the bullpen could not finish. Three relievers threw for the Twins in the seventh inning. All contributed in turning a 2-1 Twins lead into a 4-2 deficit. Infield singles, extra base hits, and two bases-loaded walks were included in the game’s autopsy.

Bottom line, both teams are coming in beaten, and angry. Should be a great A.L. Central division series for April.

Friday Night Game

Justin Verlander (1-1, 5.71 ERA vs Hector Santiago (1-1,1.47 ERA)

7:10 PM Target Field

TV: Fox Sports North

Saturday Day Game

 Matthew Boyd (2-1, 3.77 ERA) vs Adalberto Mejia (0-1, 4.05 ERA)

1:10 PM Target Field

TV: Fox Sports North

Sunday Day Game

Michael Fulmer (1-1, 3.00 ERA) vs Kyle Gibson (0-2, 6.91 ERA)

1:10 Target Field

TV: Fox Sports North