Twins at Oakland series preview
THREE-GAME SERIES AT OVERSTOCK.COM COLISEUM
Friday 9:07 p.m. • FSN, 96.3-FM
RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, 6.00) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (10-3, 2.04)
Saturday 8:07 p.m. • FSN, 96.3-FM
RHP Phil Hughes (8-6, 4.32) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (5-5, 2.49)
Sunday 3:07 p.m.• FSN , 96.3 FM
LHP Tommy Milone (5-1, 2.84) vs. RHP Jesse Chavez (4-9, 3.40)
Let’s see how the Twins respond now that the carrot — the postseason — is dangling in front of them. For four consecutive seasons, this team has nose-dived during the second half, going 105-183 (.365). This year, they are the AL wild card leaders. … The Twins kick off a six-game, seven-day road trip with three weekend games in Oakland followed by three in Los Angeles against the Angels. … The Twins were 2-12 against Oakland in 2013-14 but took three of four games against the Athletics in early May. … Brian Dozier has a home run off Kazmir, but is 2-for-22 against him all-time. Trevor Plouffe is batting .381 against Kazmir. … This is unofficially the Ervin Santana reunion tour. The righthander gets to face an A’s team that he’s 14-6 with a 2.12 ERA against in his career. Then he will pitch against the Angels, with whom he spent the first eight seasons of his career. … What about Milone? He faces an A’s club he pitched for from 2012-2014. Milone heads into his start having posted a 1.84 ERA over his past seven starts.
Oakland is just 41-50 but 27-20 since May 23. … Still, this team has issues. The bullpen has blown 12 saves, it is 8-22 in one-run games and has committed 82 errors in 91 games. … Gray was named to the All-Star Game, but did not pitch. He beat Cleveland 2-0 on Sunday for his third career shutout and will face the Twins on his normal five-day cycle. … Kazmir was on a roll against the Twins, going 5-0, 2.68 against them in 2013-14. But the Twins pounded him for six runs over six innings on May 6 at Target Field. Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar homered off him. … Kazmir has had some triceps muscle issues but threw in the bullpen Saturday with no problems. … The A’s have notoriously one of the best second-half teams in baseball, but last year was not the case. They were 29-38 after the All-Star break.