Preview: Brewers at Twins — June 4
Josh Willingham has heard his name pop up in trade rumors over the last two seasons but injuries and sub-par performance have limited his value. Finally healthy, Willingham will look to keep the Minnesota Twins streaking when they host the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. Willingham’s current hot streak could keep him out of trade rumors again, this time because he is leading his team to postseason contention.
The veteran slugger has driven in at least one run in each of the last six games and delivered four home runs in that span, including a go-ahead three-run blast in Tuesday’s 6-4 triumph in Milwaukee. The Brewers took the first game of the series on Monday 6-2 but Willingham and Brian Dozier each homered on Tuesday while the Milwaukee offense struggled to 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The Brewers took five of six before falling on Tuesday and are opening up an eight-game road trip with the back end of the home-and-home interleague set in Minnesota. Milwaukee owns the best road record in the NL Central at 16-11.
TV: 7:10 p.m., FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Brewers RH Marco Estrada (5-2, 4.03 ERA) vs. Twins RH Ricky Nolasco (3-5, 5.70)
Estrada surrendered four home runs but managed to earn a win at Miami on May 23 and walked four but still came out on top against the Chicago Cubs on Friday. The 30-year-old has allowed 17 home runs in 67 total innings this season, including seven blasts in his last three outings. Estrada has yet to earn a win in five games – three starts – against Minnesota, posting an 0-2 record with a 6.11 ERA in 17 2/3 total innings.
Nolasco snapped a five-start winless streak by holding the New York Yankees to one run in six innings to earn a win on Friday. The 31-year-old has not gone more than six innings since posting a complete game on May 2 and overcame four walks against the Yankees. Nolasco is 2-3 with a 7.58 ERA in eight career starts against the Brewers.
1. Milwaukee 3B Aramis Ramirez (hamstring) is expected to be activated from the 15-day DL to serve as DH in the American League park.
2. Minnesota closer Glen Perkins had a string of six straight outings without allowing a run come to an end when he walked a pair and surrendered a sacrifice fly on Tuesday.
3. Dozier went 5-for-8 with a home run and a double in the two games in Milwaukee.
PREDICTION: Brewers 5, Twins 4