TWINS (20-12) AT BLUE JAYS (15-19)
7:07 p.m. ET; SN1, FSNO, MLB.TV
The Minnesota Twins will be seeking some payback when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night for the opener of a three-game series.
The Blue Jays took three of four games from the Twins at Minnesota April 15-18.
Toronto used that series as a springboard for a three-game sweep of the Oakland A’s, completing a 6-1 trip, though it has lost seven of 11 since.
The Twins will start left-hander Martin Perez (4-0, 3.41 ERA) Monday against Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman (1-4, 2.20).
Perez won his third straight decision Wednesday against the Houston Astros at home. He pitched a season-best eight scoreless innings, allowing four hits in the 6-2 victory.
Perez is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four starts since joining the rotation, after opening the season with three relief appearances, using a cutter he introduced this season.
He is 1-2 with a 2.96 ERA in five career starts against Toronto.
Perez’s first start this season was a no-decision against the Blue Jays on April 15, when he allowed one run in six innings and struck out five. Toronto won 5-3.
Stroman lost his only start against the Twins last season when he allowed six hits, one walk and two runs while striking out five in seven innings. He is 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA in four career starts against Minnesota.
The Twins lost 4-1 in a rain-shortened game against the New York Yankees on Sunday, their second loss in a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.
“So we’re kind of getting accustomed to putting runs on the board, but you’re going to have nights like this,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “When you face a good team that’s throwing good pitching out there, it makes it a little bit more difficult. I think our guys did their jobs, and it just didn’t work out.”
The Blue Jays are home Monday after a 1-5 trip that included being swept in a three-game series by the Los Angeles Angels. After winning the opener against the Texas Rangers on Friday, the Blue Jays lost the final two games of the series, including a 10-2 decision Sunday.
Toronto was expected to struggle this season. While not the only problem, outfielders Teoscar Hernandez and Billy McKinney are among the prime strugglers.
McKinney, who had a pinch-hit single Sunday, is slashing .237/.287/.333 with one homer and five RBIs in 28 games. Hernandez, an erratic fielder, was 1-for-3 Sunday and is hitting .206/.277/.308 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 32 games.
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins remains optimistic, though.
“We know it’s going to turn,” Atkins said. “Our concern is just how can we help them? How can we help them make sure that they are in great spots and giving them all the resources to improve?
“So, it’s not a matter of concerns that it won’t get better, it’s just us collectively thinking about how can we help them.”
Despite the series loss in New York, the Twins have won seven of 10 and 11 of 16.
“We were talking about it the other day after we beat the Astros,” Twins reliever Blake Parker told the Minneapolis Tribune. “We came in and thought it was just like another day at the office. Normally, if you beat the Astros and go 6-1 on the homestand, you’re feeling pretty good.
“It’s interesting that we are just going about our business like we kind of expected it. And I like that vibe as a team.”
–Field Level Media