Tuesday’s preview: Blue Jays at Twins
The Minnesota Twins have given their fans a glimpse of the worst - and best - they have to offer through the first six games of their nine-game homestand.
They'll look to keep the good times rolling Tuesday as they kick off a three-game set with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. Minnesota opened its home sked with a sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics, then returned the favor against Kansas City over the weekend to run its record to 6-6.
Toronto comes in on a high after taking two of three from the host Baltimore Orioles, and enjoyed a day off following Sunday's 11-3 victory in the rubber match. Pitching was expected to a concern for the Blue Jays, but a strong showing in Baltimore — where Toronto limited the high-powered Orioles offense to five runs in three games - has them hovering near the middle of the pack in ERA. Toronto dominated the head-to-head series in 2013, winning five of six.
TV: 7:10 p.m. FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Brandon Morrow (1-1, 5.73 ERA) vs. Twins RH Phil Hughes (0-0, 7.20)
Morrow has thrown nearly the same number of pitches over his first two starts, but did a lot more with them in his previous outing than he did in his first. The 29-year-old limited Houston to three runs on five hits over six innings, striking out nine on the the way to a 7-3 triumph that earned him his first major-league victory since last May 23. Morrow is 2-1 with a 3.93 ERA and a pair of saves in eight career appearances - including two starts - against Minnesota.
Economy of pitches has been a major issue for Hughes, who is averaging more than 100 per outing over his first two starts but has yet to go longer than five innings in either. The 27-year-old has a pair of no-decisions to his credit after surrendering four runs in both his season opener against the Chicago White Sox and his second appearance against Oakland. Hughes is 5-6 with a 4.86 ERA in 20 starts and seven relief appearances versus the Blue Jays.
1. Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista, who leads the AL with five homers, is just 5-for-20 with seven strikeouts lifetime against Hughes.
2. Toronto outscored Minnesota 34-18 in their six meetings in 2013.
3. The Twins are just 6-20 in their last 26 games against a right-handed starter.
PREDICTION: Blue Jays 6, Twins 3