Series Preview: Minnesota Twins

Joe Mauer is always happy to see the Rays. - Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Rays will look to gain momentum before returning home for the Rangers, Twins look to play role of spoiler.

The Tampa Bay Rays will take on the Minnesota Twins in a 3-game weekend series in Minnesota. The Twins enter the weekend with a record of 63-82 and losers of 6 of their last 8.

The pitching match ups over the weekend are Chris Archer (8-7 3.3.19 ERA) vs Kevin Correia (9-11, 4.30 ERA) on Friday at 8:10 p.m., Matt Moore (15-3, 3.18 ERA) vs left hander Andrew Albers (2-2, 3.35 ERA) Saturday at 7:10 p.m., and David Price (8-8, 3.45 ERA) vs left hander Pedro Hernandez (3-1, 5.25 ERA) on Sunday at 2:10 p.m.

Scoreboard Watching

Since the Rays are in the middle of a playoff push and both the Rays and their fans will be scoreboard watching let's take a look at who is playing where this weekend.

The Rays trail the Texas Rangers by 2 games for the top wild card spot and the Rangers will host the Oakland A's for a weekend series.

The New York Yankees trail the Rays by 1-game and will travel to Boston to close out their season series with the Red Sox.

The Cleveland Indians trail the Rays by 1.5 games and will be in Chicago to finish their 4-game set.

The Baltimore Orioles trail the Rays by 1.5 games and will be north of the border taking on the Blue Jays.

The Kansas City Royals trail the Rays by 2 games and will be in Detroit to take on the Tigers.

The Offense

The Twins offense has struggled in 2013. They rank 13th in the American League with a 3.91 runs per game average. They have a 91 OPS+ and a 92 wRC+ and rank below league average in average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Joe Mauer has a lifetime average of .374 (64 for 203) against the Rays with a slash line of .374/.1468/.515). He used to tag team with Justin Morneau who had a career slash line of .299/.344/.545 against the Rays but Morneau has been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The table below represent the Twins hitters in the second half (Fangraphs.com):

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ HR BB% K%
Brian Dozier 231 0.254 0.313 0.474 0.340 114 9 7.8% 19.9%
Joe Mauer 105 0.337 0.410 0.489 0.388 146 3 11.4% 13.3%
Josmil Pinto 33 0.467 0.515 0.733 0.533 246 1 9.1% 15.2%
Pedro Florimon 148 0.215 0.274 0.326 0.269 65 3 6.8% 33.8%
Doug Bernier 61 0.240 0.356 0.300 0.299 86 0 13.1% 21.3%
Oswaldo Arcia 111 0.252 0.306 0.495 0.347 118 6 6.3% 32.4%
Wilkin Ramirez 38 0.306 0.342 0.444 0.342 115 0 5.3% 23.7%
Chris Colabello 139 0.205 0.302 0.393 0.310 93 7 11.5% 30.2%
Eric Fryer 2 0.500 0.500 2.000 1.047 598 1 0.0% 0.0%
Clete Thomas 176 0.214 0.286 0.296 0.262 60 1 8.5% 27.8%
Alex Presley 50 0.340 0.380 0.468 0.372 136 1 6.0% 18.0%
Chris Herrmann 133 0.188 0.275 0.316 0.268 64 3 10.5% 29.3%
Chris Parmelee 11 0.125 0.364 0.125 0.269 65 0 27.3% 9.1%
Drew Butera 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 -100 0 0.0% 33.3%
Eduardo Escobar 4 0.000 0.250 0.000 0.173 -1 0 25.0% 50.0%
Josh Willingham 131 0.179 0.328 0.349 0.310 93 4 16.8% 29.0%
Ryan Doumit 161 0.239 0.329 0.352 0.298 85 3 11.8% 20.5%
Darin Mastroianni 31 0.214 0.207 0.286 0.210 24 0 0.0% 29.0%
Aaron Hicks 50 0.163 0.229 0.186 0.196 15 0 6.0% 24.0%
Trevor Plouffe 195 0.220 0.267 0.341 0.269 65 4 5.6% 26.7%

The Twins bullpen has been a source of pride for the struggling team all year. They own the 4th lowest ERA in the American League at 3.33 (3.45 FIP). Former starter Brian Duensing seems to have found a home in the pen and has thrived. Glen Perkins remains as the Twins closer. The table below represents Twins relievers the 2nd half of the season (Fangraphs.com):

Name W L ERA FIP SV G IP K/9 BB/9
Brian Duensing 4 1 2.57 2.81 0 22 21 9.9 1.7
Anthony Swarzak 1 0 1.67 2.83 0 16 32.1 7.0 2.5
Jared Burton 1 3 4.29 3.34 0 24 21 9.0 0.4
Caleb Thielbar 2 2 3.06 3.16 0 22 17.2 6.6 2.6
Josh Roenicke 1 0 4.19 3.41 1 22 19.1 8.4 4.2
Glen Perkins 1 0 3.52 3.61 13 22 23 9.8 2.4
Shairon Martis 0 0 0.00 1.55 0 2 2 13.5 4.5
Jamey Carroll 0 0 0.00 3.05 0 1 1 0.0 0.0
Michael Tonkin 0 0 0.00 4.05 0 2 2 9.0 9.0
Ryan Pressly 1 1 4.55 4.24 0 14 27.2 4.9 2.6
Casey Fien 3 0 5.79 4.55 0 22 18.2 11.1 1.5
Cole DeVries 0 0 9.00 9.38 0 1 3 0.0 6.0

The Starters

Kevin Correia

Correia is your typical on or off starter. Over his last 5 games he has posted a 1-3 record with an ERA of 3.18. He has worked 34 innings and has allowed 36 hits striking out 17 and walking 7.

He faced the Rays at Tropicana Field on July 10th and took a no decision in a 4-3 Rays victory. He worked 5.1 innings allowing 3R/ER on 5 hits striking out 6 and walking 5.

Correia struggles against left handed batters. They post a slash line against him of .302/.350/.478.

Andrew Albers

The Left Handed Albers has been a nice story for the Twins in 2013. He was signed as a minor league free agent prior to the 2011 season. He spent most of this season with the Rochester Red Wings posting a record of 11-5 with a 2.86 ERA with a strike out rate of 7.9 K/9 and a walk rate of 2.2 BB/9.

He has made 7 starts for the Twins since being called up and has posted a record of 2-2 with a 3.35 ERA. Three of his 7 starts have been scoreless outings.

Over his last 5 starts he 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA and has only worked 28.1 innings but in his last start he held the Toronto Blue Jays scoreless over 7 innings on 4 hits striking out 5 and walking 0.

Pedro Hernandez

The left handed Hernandez was one of the players acquired from the Chicago White Sox last year. He made 10 starts between the Double A New Britain Rock Cats and the Triple A Rochester Red Wings posting a 3-3 record with a 3.66 ERA.

Over his last 5 starts he has posted a record of 2-1 with a 4.62 ERA. He has worked 25.1 innings allowing 32 hits striking out 14 and walking 8.

He seems to throw a lot of pitches in a short amount of time. His longest outing of the year is only 6 innings and his season high pitch count is 107.

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