Fresh off their first series win on the road against an AL opponent in more than a month, the Detroit Tigers head north to take on the Minnesota Twins in a big divisional matchup this weekend at Target Field. The Tigers (68-57; 2nd AL Central) see this as a big opportunity to get back on track after a dismal month of August so far. The Twins (56-70; Last in AL Central) are struggling this season, especially with their pitching. It seems like a good opponent for the Tigers to break out of their offensive slump against. Minnesota is also struggling at the plate. C Kurt Suzuki is their only player hitting above .300 this year, and only have 1 player (Brian Dozier) who has hit more than 13 home runs. On the mound, the Twins are led by former Yankee Phil Hughes. Hughes pitched on Thursday and will not face the Tigers in this series. Hughes and Sunday’s starter Kyle Gibson are the only Twins with more than 5 wins this season. Detroit should at least be able to take 3 of 4 from the Twins in this series.
Previous 2014 Matchups:
The Tigers and Twins split 2 games at Target Field back on April 25th and 26th, with the 3rd game of that series being rained out. It will be made up Saturday as part of a doubleheader.
-Back on May 9th – 11th, the Twins took 2 of 3 games at Comerica Park.
-Friday Aug 22 at 8:10pm on FS Detroit: Robbie Ray vs Tommy Milone
-Saturday Aug 23 at 1:10pm on FS Detroit: Buck Farmer vs Yohan Pino
-Saturday Aug 23 at 8:10pm on FS Detroit: Justin Verlander vs Trevor May
-Sunday Aug 24 at 2:10pm on FS Detroit: Max Scherzer vs Kyle Gibson
Injury Updates & Transactions:
-Justin Verlander is expected to return on Saturday night for the Tigers. JV threw 35 pitches on Thursday and says he feels good enough to return to the rotation after shoulder inflammation caused him to miss 2 starts.
-The Tigers officially shut down OF Andy Dirks for the rest of the 2014 season after Dirks strained his hamstring in a rehab assignment.
-Joakim Soria and Anibal Sanchez remain on the DL, but both are hopeful that they can return to the lineup by the end of the month.
-The Twins are without P Mike Pelfrey for the rest of the season after undergoing elbow surgery in June.
Playoff Race Update:
The Tigers currently sit 1 1/2 games behind the Kansas City Royals for the AL Central division lead. Kansas City is in Texas this weekend for a 3 game series with the Rangers. Meanwhile, a huge series is playing out in the Bay Area this weekend, as the Oakland A’s and LA Angels face each other. Oakland leads the Tigers by 5 1/2 games for the 1st Wild Card spot in the AL, but the A’s are 2-8 in their last 10 games. Detroit is hanging on to the 2nd AL Wild Card spot by a 1/2 game over the Seattle Mariners. The M’s are in Boston this weekend to take on the Red Sox.