|4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 PM CT, May 31, 2019
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida Attendance: 14,375
Twins hope to regroup against red-hot Rays
Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays
- The Twins are averaging 6.96 runs on the road this season while averaging 2.4 home runs -- both are the best in MLB. Both statistics are also on pace to be the highest by any Twins/Senators team before June 1.
- The Rays have won five in a row and are 7-1 in their last eight, holding opponents to three or fewer runs in each game. That is tied for their third-longest streak in franchise history -- their longest streak is 12 such games back in August 2014.
- Last season, the Rays hit .338 against the Twins, their second highest against any team in a single season (minimum five games) in franchise history (hit .342 against the Royals in 2006). This included scoring 19 runs against Minnesota on July 14 of last season, matching their most in a game in team history.
- Martin Perez enters today with a 6-1 record and a 2.17 ERA in his eight starts this season. He joins Francisco Liriano in 2006 and Jim Kaat in 1972 as the only Twins lefties with at least six wins and a sub-2.50 ERA through eight starts of a season since the team moved to Minnesota in 1961.
- Ji-Man Choi is hitting .351 with two outs this season compared to .205 with nobody out and .214 with one out. That .351 average is seventh best in the American League (minimum 60 plate appearances). The Rays are hitting .254 as a team with two outs, fifth best in the AL.
- Eddie Rosario has hit four home runs and driven in 12 RBI on his eight-game hitting streak. He has hit .403 with a 1.147 OPS against the Rays in his career -- both are the highest by any active player against the Rays (minimum 75 plate appearances).
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Despite suffering their worst loss of the season in Thursday night's opening game of a four-game series with Tampa Bay, the Minnesota Twins still have the best record in the American League. A major reason for that has been the team's ability to bounce back from a loss.
The Twins are an impressive 14-3 following a defeat so far this season. On Friday night in St. Petersburg, Fla., they'll try to quickly put behind an ugly 14-3 loss to the Rays that saw Tampa Bay tally a season high in runs while piling up 16 hits, including at least one by each starter in the lineup.
It was not quite the way Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli, a longtime player and coach with the Rays, who made him the sixth overall pick of the 2000 MLB Draft, envisioned his return to Tropicana Field with his new club.
"Our guys certainly don't seem to bring things back to the ballpark from the day before," Baldelli said. "The good general confidence shows up every day. But whether the previous game goes well or doesn't, our group comes in the same way. They come in ready to play the following day. That's what we've come to expect from ourselves, and I think that's what we'll see tomorrow."
Jose Berrios (7-2, 3.20 ERA) will start for the Twins while Ryne Stanek (0-1, 2.97) will be used as an opener for the Rays.
Berrios has struggled in his career against Tampa Bay, compiling a 0-2 record and 8.44 ERA in three career starts. He also is 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA in two starts at Tropicana Field.
The Rays come in with a season-best six game winning streak. A major reason for that has been the hitting of outfielder Austin Meadows, who is on a seven-game hitting streak, batting .500 with four doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs during the span.
Meadows started Thursday night's rout of the Twins with a three-run double and finished with two hits and four RBIs.
"I'm just seeing the ball well," said Meadows, who is batting .361 with 12 homers and 35 RBIs in 38 games. "That's the only way I can put it really. ... Things are going well. Just going up there and being aggressive, swinging at my pitches in the zone. That's the biggest thing."
Rays manager Kevin Cash is impressed with Meadows' approach.
"He just sees everything really well," Cash said. "You don't see him expand out of the zone very often and when he gets it in the zone he's getting it on the barrel (of the bat). Obviously, the sign of a good hitter that's playing great right now."
Cash waited until after the game to announce that the hard-throwing Stanek will make his 16th start in 24 games on Friday night. Stanek has faced the Twins four times in his career, including once as a starter, and is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA.
The Rays got some good news on the injury front after the game. Outfielder Tommy Pham, who had two hits but left limping after scoring during the team's five-run fourth, suffered what the team called a lower right leg cramp. An MRI came back negative.
"It feels better," Pham told the Tampa Bay Times. "I guess I need to drink more water and stop drinking soda. Good news from the MRI, but I guess we'll see how I feel (Friday)."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 31, 2019