Riding a three-game winning streak into the three-game series against Tampa Bay, the Twins are looking to put this miserable, plagued month of April behind them. Everything about April has seemed to be bad. Injuries, the hitting stunk, the pitching was bad at times and the weather has been miserable. The Twins have had two home games postponed and one road game postponed. But it is a funny thing how winning changes everything. The Twins have won three games in a row and I feel downright optimistic about the team all of the sudden. They are 9-12 and only sit 4.5 games out of first place after a wretched start. Frankly, I think being 4.5 games out is something to be optimistic about.
Somehow the Twins have been able to get lucky and miss the Rays’ ace, David Price, in two straight series. The Twins will get the Rays’ Wade Davis tonight in the series opener. He has had a pretty stellar April, posting an ERA under three in his four starts, although he is just 2-2. And the Rays will run out Jeff Niemann and Jeremy Hellickson for the double header on Thursday. Niemann has been downright bad, posting an ERA over seven, while Hellickson has been decent so far for Tampa.
Tonight is a big night for Twins’ pitching, as Francisco Liriano will finally make his start. He was pushed back after the rainout with the Indians. I am very excited to see how the extra rest works for Liriano. He made some progress in his last start and I look for him to keep that up tonight. The Twins send Nick Blackburn and Scott Baker to the mound tomorrow. Baker has been lights out in his last two starts and I am starting to get really excited about his success. This is the Scott Baker I have been waiting for forever, and I am afraid he might get my hopes too high and I will be let down when he comes back to Earth. Or maybe he will keep dealing and regain his spot at the top of this Twins’ rotation.
Let’s look for the offense to keep showing up against these Rays. Maybe not as much tonight against Davis, but I could see the Twins lighting up Niemann tomorrow.