Manager: Ron Gardenhire, 13th year
Last 10 games: 4-6
Who to watch: DH Josmil Pinto (.219/.370/.438, 5 HR, 10 RBIs); 3B Trevor Plouffe (.277/.383/.436, 13 XBH, 19 RBIs); RF Chris Colabello (.290/.343/.470, 12 XBH, 27 RBI); RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-2, 6.67 ERA)
Season series vs. O’s (2013): 3-3, 29 runs scored, 37 runs allowed
It’s a good bet offense will be the story when the Twins host the Orioles at Target Field this weekend in a series that pits two of the American League’s top-performing lineups against each other.
Minnesota ranks fifth in all of baseball with 138 runs scored, having plated at least three runs in 10 straight games and 16 of the last 17.
Outfielder Chris Colabello ranks among baseball’s best with 27 RBIs in 25 games while third baseman Trevor Plouffe and catcher Kurt Suzuki have contributed 19 apiece. Second baseman Brian Dozier and designated hitter Josmil Pinto have provided the pop with seven and five homers, respectively.
The Twins are raking with the best of them, but their pitching hasn’t balanced things out to help in the most important category - wins. Despite scoring at least three runs in each of their last 10 contests, Minnesota is 4-6 because the team has allowed opponents to answer with 58 runs (5.8 per game) during that time.
The Twins’ 5.09 team ERA is the worst in the American League with the rotation doing much of that damage, pitching to an unsightly 6.04 ERA.
Minnesota signed Ricky Nolasco away from the Marlins and Phil Hughes away from the Yankees over the winter to bolster the starting five. But it has yet to pan out. Four of the Twins’ starters have ERAs above 5.00 with Nolasco at 6.67 and Hughes at 5.14. They pitch the first and third games of the series.
If the bats stay hot and the arms catch up a little bit, Minnesota could be a real threat to anyone. But right now, foes are having their way with one of the league’s worst pitching staffs even while being batted around a bit by the Twins lineup.
If you’re into high-scoring, see-saw affairs, however, it should make for an exciting weekend of baseball.