Minnesota can match its longest winning streak from 2012 with a victory Monday night against Miami as the teams begin a two-game series at Target Field.
A 5-3 road win against the White Sox on Sunday gave the Twins (8-7) their fourth straight victory, putting them on the verge of equaling their five-game streak from June 30-July 3, 2012.
Josh Willingham - who has at least one RBI in each game during the streak - provided a big three-run double in Minnesota's four-run seventh inning. Before that, the struggling Aaron Hicks - 0 for 19 over his last seven games - had an RBI single to tie the score at 2.
"I'd put us up against anybody right now," starter Scott Diamond , who gave up two runs over six innings, told the team's official website. "I think we're playing pretty confidently. As long as we can execute our pitches and continue to work, I think we're gonna be better than everybody thinks we are."
Minnesota's pitching has been strong during the four-game run, compiling a 2.19 ERA while allowing 30 hits over the last 37 innings. Kevin Correia (1-1, 2.95 ERA) figures to give the staff a good shot to continue that trend, as he's gone at least seven innings in all three of his starts while limiting opponents to three earned runs or fewer.
Correia will have to overcome some past struggles against the Marlins, though. He's 3-4 with an 8.01 ERA in eight starts versus Miami.
Facing this Marlins lineup, however, may not prove to be particularly daunting. Miami (4-15) is off to its worst start in franchise history hampered by an abysmal offense, though Giancarlo Stanton finally recorded his first RBI in a 10-6 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday.
"It doesn't give any excuse to my terrible play before that," said Stanton, who was 4 of 18 with eight strikeouts in the four-game series against the Reds and is batting .188 overall. "I can only look forward. I could have hit left-handed and done as well."
Stanton's struggles are far from the only thing weighing down Miami's offense. The Marlins rank last in baseball in batting average (.212) and slugging percentage (.266) and are tied with the White Sox for the worst on-base percentage (.271). Their six home runs are also the fewest in the majors.
"We haven't hit well enough to overcome those mistakes," said manager Mike Redmond , who played for the Twins from 2005-09. "Hopefully, this gets Stanton something to build on."
Making the start for Miami will be Ricky Nolasco (0-2, 3.86), who has felt the brunt of the inept offense while getting 1.54 runs of support per nine innings.
|April 17, 2013||Adeiny Hechavarria||15-Day DL||Bruised left elbow|
|April 13, 2013||Justin Ruggiano||Day-to-Day||Groin|
|April 12, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder soreness|
|April 04, 2013||Casey Kotchman||Day-to-Day||Strained left hamstring|
|April 04, 2013||Casey Kotchman||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|March 31, 2013||Alfredo Silverio||60-Day DL||Sprained right elbow|
|April 16, 2013||Wilkin Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Back contusion|
|April 16, 2013||Darin Mastroianni||15-Day DL||Stress reaction in left ankle|
|March 30, 2013||Cole De Vries||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|March 24, 2013||Tim Wood||15-Day DL||Right rotator cuff strain|
|March 22, 2013||Scott Diamond||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Anthony Swarzak||15-Day DL||Fractured ribs|
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins pre-emptively postponed their game against the Miami Marlins , due to approaching inclement weather.
The Twins announced almost seven hours before the scheduled start time Monday that they'll play the Marlins instead on Tuesday night as the second half of a split doubleheader. The two teams already were slated to play on Tuesday afternoon. This is only a two-game series.
To give workers more time to prepare the ballpark, the Twins also pushed the first game back an hour to 1:10 p.m. local time. The second game will be at 7:10 p.m.
Monday's game was called while the temperature was 45 degrees, before any rain had even fallen. But the forecast was calling for a wet night, turning to heavy snow that's supposed to taper by Tuesday morning after an estimated accumulation of three to six inches in the Twin Cities area. The expected high for Tuesday was 42 degrees.
Four of Minnesota's last eight scheduled games have been wiped out before they began because of weather problems, including three at home. That matched their previous season high for postponements at Target Field, in 2011. The Twins had only one washout in 2012 and one in 2010, plus a game that was suspended in that inaugural year for the limestone-and-glass ballpark.
The Twins moved out of the climate-controlled Metrodome after the 2009 season. The covered stadium sits only a couple of miles away, but in the reconfiguration process for football after the Twins left all the dirt was removed from the base paths. So the diamond is no longer up to major league standard.
Via Twitter, Twins President Dave St. Peter acknowledged the urging by some people for rescheduling of these games indoors. He joked in his tweet that "if this many fans had actually attended games" at the Dome, the Twins would've led MLB in attendance.
In a phone interview later, St. Peter said the Twins "would never say never" to a temporary shift if the weather or other circumstance was dire enough. Such a change, however, remains unrealistic.
"Needless to say, our organization, and certainly our season-ticket holders and our sponsors, doesn't have much interest in moving down to the Metrodome on a short-term basis for a game or two," St. Peter said.
The weather has been a bother throughout baseball this month, not only in Minnesota.
According to STATS research, this was the 14th postponement of the season. Through the first 23 days, there were six postponements in 2012, 15 in 2011 and just two in 2010. This year, there have been 14 games played with a first-pitch temperature below 40 degrees.
"It's been frustrating, needless to say," St. Peter said. "Everything pointed to a really ugly night, one that playing baseball on wasn't really an option, due to the rain, due to the snow, due to the wind, due to the old. It just doesn't make much sense."
St. Peter said, if the weather prevents the doubleheader from being completed, that Wednesday is a possibility for another makeup slot. That would require approval from the players from both teams and the MLB Players Association, because of the limit on how many consecutive days teams can play.
Thanks in part to all the wintry weather plus one scheduled off day last week, the Twins haven't lost in nine days since April 13. Their winning streak is at four games in a row, good enough to propel them into second place in the AL Central division. They were planning to send right-hander Kevin Correia to the mound on Monday, and he was moved to Tuesday afternoon. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey , scheduled to pitch the matinee, was pushed back to the night game, the Twins announced.
The Marlins, at least, didn't lose again.
Miami (4-15) has the fewest wins and the worst record in the majors, a low not unexpected after the offseason sell-off that sent away most of the team's best players to save money and start over with a young team and new manager Mike Redmond .
According to STATS research, this is their worst mark in Marlins history after 19 games. They were 5-14 in 1995, 1998 and 1999.
The Marlins are batting .212 with six home runs and 43 runs scored, all by far the fewest totals in the majors. Giancarlo Stanton , the only star who wasn't traded, is hitting .188 with one run batted in.
Right-hander Ricky Nolasco , the scheduled starter for Monday, was bumped to the Tuesday afternoon game. Right-hander Jose Hernandez , slated to take the mound for the matinee, was slotted for the Tuesday night game instead, the Marlins announced.
Redmond was forced to wait for his reunion with the Twins, for whom he was a popular backup catcher from 2005-09. The Marlins also have a pair of former Twins pitchers, Jon Rauch and Kevin Slowey .
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