MLB News: Twins hope hitting comes around in series with TorontoRegional Sports
-- Minnesota Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer says with the exception of teammate Jason Kubel, who is swinging a hot bat, there haven't been very many bright spots on a team that many had pegged as a postseason contender. Minnesota was idle yesterday and entertains Toronto this weekend for a three-game series at Target Field.
MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer says with the exception of teammate Jason Kubel, who is swinging a hot bat, there haven't been very many bright spots on a team that many had pegged as a postseason contender. Minnesota was idle yesterday and entertains Toronto this weekend for a three-game series at Target Field.
Tonight's game starts at 7:10 p.m. Cuddyer says everyone on the team needs to play better, including himself. He says he has not driven in enough runs so far this season. Cuddyer adds that while the start of the year has been rough, the team is still not counting itself out. But, he explains they can't dig themselves much deeper into the hole. Right now, Minnesota is ten-and-a-half-games out of first place in the American League Central Division with a league-worst 12-23 record.
Here are the scheduled pitching pairings for the upcoming three-game series between the Twins and Blue Jays at Target Field (Twins pitcher listed first):
Friday -- Carl Pavano (2-4, 6.64 ERA) vs. Ricky Romero (2-4, 4.04 ERA), 7:10pm
Saturday -- Nick Blackburn (2-4, 3.95 ERA) vs. Jo Jo Reyes (0-3, 5.00 ERA), 3:10pm
Sunday -- Brian Duensing (3-3, 3.32 ERA) vs. Brandon Morrow (1-2, 4.71 ERA), 1:10pm
The Twins' season record of 12-23 is the worst in Major League Baseball and the worst the Twins franchise have had in over a decade. The last time Minnesota was 11-games under .500 was during the 2000 season. Minnesota finished that campaign 69-93.
Pittsburgh Pirates’ outfielder Andrew McCutcheon has been cleared to play in tonight’s game against the Brewers in Milwaukee. McCutcheon was benched yesterday for not running out a dropped-third-strike in Pittsburgh’s 2-0 home loss to the LA Dodgers on Wednesday night. He didn’t get much of a punishment, though. Yesterday’s game only lasted for an inning due to rain. The Pirates come into Miller Park with a two-game losing streak, after being out-scored 12-3 by the Dodgers in those losses. Milwaukee is coming off a Wednesday afternoon loss to San Diego in which they gave up eight runs to the Padres in the eighth inning. The Brewer offense continues to sputter. And left fielder Ryan Braun is uncertain for tonight, after he bruised his left ankle going for a catch at the wall on Wednesday. Prince Fielder belted his 200th career homer in that game, but he was stuck on 199 for quite a while. Yovani Gallardo starts for the Brew Crew tonight against Pittsburgh’s James McDonald. Gallardo is 6-1 lifetime against the Pirates.
The Chicago White Sox will open a weekend series at Oakland. Phil Humber will start for the White Sox, after going at least seven innings in his last three outings while giving up a total of seven hits. Humber will try to even his 2-and-3 record against Brandon McCarthy, who’s 1-3.
The Detroit Tigers will open a home series against Kansas City. Justin Verlander will start for the first time since he threw his second career no-hitter at Toronto last weekend. His other no-hitter came against the Milwaukee Brewers. Luke Hochevar will start for the Royals.
The Milwaukee Brewers hope to extend a six-game home winning streak against Pittsburgh tonight. The Brewers have defeated the Pirates in 28-of-their-last-30 contests at Miller Park. And even though the Pirates have gotten better this season, Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo hopes to continue the momentum he built last Saturday. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Cardinals, and he ended up striking out six in a 4-0 shutout. The right-handed Gallardo is 3-2 with a five-point-one-one ERA. He had five consecutive rough outings before his gem against the Cardinals. The Pirates will counter with right-hander James McDonald. He’s 2-and-2 with a five-point-six-five ERA. He’s coming off an eight-inning no-decision against Houston last Sunday in which he tied a career-high with eight strikeouts. Pittsburgh is a game below .500 but is two games up on the fifth-place Brewers in the National League Central.