The Minnesota Twins will shoot for their seventh victory in a row as they look to finish off a three-game sweep of the visiting Detroit Tigers on Wednesday afternoon in Minneapolis.
The Twins won the series opener 5-4 on Monday and followed that up with a 2-0 victory on Tuesday. Minnesota is a season-best 11 games above .500 and has outscored opponents 43-20 during its latest winning streak.
The string of success prompted a happy mood inside the Minnesota clubhouse, where players recently started banging a gong after victories.
“I heard the gong,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “The creativity level is high.”
The anxiety level, on the other hand, is low.
“I just feel like there’s less pressure on each player at the plate,” Twins right fielder Max Kepler said. “It’s just a good group of guys, so it’s like we’re fighting for each other.”
Detroit will try to salvage a game in the series as it wraps up a three-city, eight-game road trip. The Tigers are 2-5 on the trip and have been outscored 31-14 in those games.
Tigers catcher Tucker Barnhart said he and his teammates could not get discouraged.
“We’ve got a (heck) of a lot of ballgames left to play,” Barnhart said. “We’ve got 120 games left, which is a lot. It (stinks) losing. It’s tough coming out on the wrong end of these things, but we’ve got a lot of games left. There’s a lot of confidence in this team.”
Detroit will turn Wednesday to right-hander Rony Garcia (0-0, 2.57 ERA), who is scheduled to make his first start of the season and only the third start of his three-year major league career. He has shined out of the bullpen this season, recording 17 strikeouts in 14 innings while posting a terrific 0.714 WHIP.
The 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic has faced Minnesota three times out of the bullpen in his career. He is 0-0 with a 13.50 ERA in those appearances, having allowed four runs in 2 2/3 innings.
The Twins will counter with right-hander Dylan Bundy (3-2, 5.14 ERA), who is set to make his seventh start of the season. The 29-year-old Oklahoma native is looking for the 50th win of his major league career.
In his most recent outing, Bundy gave up two hits in three scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics on May 17. He walked two and struck out three, and he threw 35 of 54 pitches for strikes. The Twins kept him on a limited pitch count because it was his first start back after a stint on the COVID list.
Bundy is 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA in five career games (four starts) against the Tigers. He has walked nine and struck out 18 in 23 innings during those outings.
Among the bright spots for the Twins this season has been the emergence of infielder Luis Arraez. The 25-year-old is hitting .354 (fourth best in the majors) after going 2-for-4 with a run on Tuesday.
“I think the offseason work that he put in allowed him to kind of refine what he already had,” Baldelli said.
–Field Level Media