This might surprise you, but the Minnesota Twins, a team that has lost 99 and 96 games the last two seasons, are 5-2 this season against the American League East. The Twins host the Orioles for three games over the weekend beginning tonight at Target Field.
The Twins took two of three in Baltimore in the second series of the year and they just took three of four at Fenway Park, winning the last three in that series by scores of 6-1, 15-8 and 5-3.
Minnesota is 16-15 on the season, 7-6 at home and has been hovering around the .500 mark all season. The Twins have played well against some good clubs and in addition to that record against the Orioles and Red Sox, are 3-3 versus Detroit and 2-2 against Texas.
Minnesota ranks ninth in the league in runs scored, 11th in batting average, 13th in team OPS and 14th in homers. The Twins rank ninth in team ERA and next to last in the AL with just 12 quality starts. Despite the less than imposing stats, they have still managed to go a combined 10-7 versus the Orioles, Red Sox, Rangers and Tigers.
In that earlier series in Baltimore, the Orioles won the series opener 9-5 before falling to Minnesota by scores of 6-5 and 4-3.
Nick Markakis went 8-for-13 in that series with two doubles and an RBI. Adam Jones went 7-for-12 with two doubles and five RBIs. For Minnesota, Justin Morneau was 4-for-12 with three RBIs and Joe Mauer was 2-for-13 with five strikeouts.
Mauer brings an eight-game hit streak into this series and he went 8-for-18 with seven runs and five doubles in their Boston series. While he hit just .269 against the Orioles last season, Mauer is a career .322 batter with a lifetime OPS of .851 versus the Orioles.
Jason Hammel is unbeaten on the road this year, going 5-0 with an ERA of 3.41 in five starts. Tonight, he can become just the third Oriole in 54 years to start a season 6-0 on the road with a win. Hoyt Wilhelm did that in 1959 and Jeff Ballard in 1989. The last major leaguer to do that was Boston's Josh Beckett in 2007.