The Minnesota Twins are determined to stay in the race in the American League Central and are on a roll with wins in six straight. The Twins will try to keep the pressure on the first-place Cleveland Indians and keep the Tigers thinking about the future when they visit Detroit for the second of a three-game series on Saturday.
Minnesota climbed two games over .500 (58-56) with Friday’s 9-4 win in the series opener and stayed within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Indians while remaining in the thick of the AL wild card race. The Twins are allowing an average of 3.2 runs during the winning streak and leaned heavily in the series opener on the bullpen, which responded by allowing one run and four hits in 4 1/3 innings in relief of ineffective starter Kyle Gibson. Minnesota will try to give the relief corps a little more rest on Saturday, when Jose Berrios takes the mound opposite Tigers veteran Jordan Zimmermann. Detroit (52-63) dropped 11 games under .500 with Friday’s setback and has lost six of its last seven while allowing an average of seven runs in those losses.
TV: 6:10 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Jose Berrios (10-5, 3.86 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Jordan Zimmermann (7-9, 5.27)
Berrios wasn’t particularly sharp in his last outing but still managed to earn the win despite allowing five runs and six hits in five innings against Texas. The 23-year-old Puerto Rico native is trying to find some consistency in the second half and held San Diego to one run over seven innings in his previous turn. Berrios made two starts against Detroit last season and was ripped for a total of 13 runs - 12 earned - and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Zimmermann went seven innings in each of his last three starts but took the loss last time out while surrendering three runs and five hits at Pittsburgh. The Wisconsin native issued three walks against the Pirates after not yielding a free pass in either of his previous two turns. Zimmermann was not nearly as strong at Minnesota on July 22, when he was ripped for five runs on nine hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings.
1. Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler was reportedly claimed off revocable waivers but is unlikely to be dealt.
2. Minnesota SS Jorge Polanco recorded multiple hits in each of the last five games and is 12-for-19 in that span.
3. Detroit 3B Nick Castellanos is 7-for-13 in the last three games after going 2-for-25 over the previous seven.
PREDICTION: Twins 6, Tigers 4