Minnesota Twins Hit the Road for Three Against Baltimore Orioles

Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Fresh off two doubleheaders last week, the Minnesota Twins hope to play them one at a time in Baltimore (weather permitting).

Finally, the Minnesota Twins can get away from this dreary weather in the Midwest and hit the East Coast where, according to meteorologist Lynette Charles (ABC2 – Baltimore):

Let’s play two? I don’t think any of the Minnesota players want to hear that again for a while. As it is, they are on the road for just the three game set at Camden Yards before returning home to Target Field.

More from Baltimore Orioles

In a roster move that was expected, Kyle Gibson was recalled from AAA Rochester for last night’s start.

The corresponding roster move was a surprise, with starter Phil Hughes hitting the 10-day DL with shoulder discomfort.

Also, Sunday’s starter and winner, Adalberto Mejia, was sent back down to Rochester. After pitching as much as he did, it doesn’t pay for him to take up a roster spot now when he can’t pitch for three or four days.

Because he was the emergency 26th man added to the roster due to the doubleheader, he can be returned to Rochester and recalled without worrying about the normal 10-day waiting period to recall a demoted player.

The Twins are set to play 50 games in the next 50 days, a daunting task indeed. Even more so given the level of competition. The next four opponents all have more wins than the Twins currently do, though Minnesota has played two games less than most of the teams in the league. Here are the scheduled starters for the remaining games in this series after handing the O’s a 14-7 whooping on Monday.

Tuesday Night Game

Ervin Santana (6-2, 2.07 ERA) vs Dylan Bundy (5-2, 2.97 ERA)

6:05 PM Camden Yards

TV: Fox Sports North

Wednesday Day Game

Jose Berrios (2-0, 0.59 ERA) vs Chris Tillman (1-0, 3.52 ERA)

11:35 AM Camden Yards

TV: Fox Sports North

Orioles: At, or near the top, of the A.L. East much of the first seven weeks of the season, Baltimore hasn’t fared well versus the A.L. Central over the past 10 days.

They were swept at Kansas City in three one-run ballgames, before dropping two of three in Detroit as the Tigers won two one-run decisions after losing 13-11 to the Orioles in the series opener.

The biggest concern for Baltimore in late-inning situations is that they are without their All-Star closer, Zach Britton, until mid-summer at the earliest. Britton went down with a forearm injury in early May after sitting out in April as well.

At that time, doctors feared Britton would be out 45-60 days. He hopes to beat that timetable, and is scheduled to throw off of flat ground before the end of the week. But the Orioles would be wise to play it safe with a closer who has converted 54 consecutive save opportunities.

Pitching: For a team expected to contend for a division title, the Orioles are thin in the starting rotation. Chris Tillman will be making just his fourth start of the season after beginning the year on the DL.

The other starters are mostly at, or below, .500 pitchers for their career. They have been following the Royals philosophy: Keep it close into the last three innings, and let our bullpen beat your bullpen.

Mychal Givens already has eight holds and five wins (versus no losses) on the year as a reliever. Every game Baltimore plays is down to the wire, with their last 12 games decided by two runs or less before last night.

More from Call to the Pen

Pitcher to Watch: While they don’t have a bonafide ace on their staff, Dylan Bundy is growing into that role. Converted from reliever last year, Bundy looks to be the anchor for years to come.

Just in his second full season, Bundy has great control, striking out 104 batters in 109 innings pitched, versus just 42 walks last year. This season, his ratio is 39/16 in 57.2 IP.

Batting:  Baltimore has been team home run over the past few years, leading the majors in home runs last season with 253. Remember how big of a deal it was last year when the Twins finally hit 200 home runs as a team for the first time in forever?

Baltimore is on a streak of seasons hitting 200+ homers, doing so in each of the past five seasons. Their total last season was 23 more than second place St. Louis.

This season, the Orioles started off slowly in hitting the long ball, but they’ve warmed up as the weather has, now just five behind league-leading Milwaukee.

Batter to Watch: I was ready to rule out Manny Machado for most of the series after Machado got hit in the hand and left Sunday’s ballgame. But X-rays today were negative, and Machado was in the lineup, batting third on Monday. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

He’s hitting just .223 on the year, but has stroked six home runs this month already. He’s also 7-20 against the three Minnesota starters he’ll be facing this week and .355 against Twins pitchers currently on the roster.

Twins: Kyle Gibson was auditioning for a spot in the rotation, now that Hughes is on the DL and he earned the win last night despite giving up six earned over five frames. Gibson needs to pitch well to remain in the Twins’ plans moving forward, or risk getting passed by the likes of Mejia and Nick Tepesch.

If he can give Minnesota a string of good starts, sprinkled in with a rotation of Santana, Berrios, Santiago, and Mejia – they just might be buyers during the trade deadline.

Next: Diary of a Minnesota Twins Doubleheader

Notes: Sunday’s doubleheader at Target Field was the first “traditional” doubleheader ever in the new ballpark.