Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Joe Mauer will bat in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career when the slumping Minnesota Twins host the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. Twins manager Paul Molitor is attempting to shake up his struggling club and wrote down Mauer’s name atop the lineup for Monday’s game, but the contest was postponed due to rain.
Mauer is one of the few Twins (8-23) performing at a high level, and his American League-leading .420 on-base percentage prompted Molitor to make the move. “I’m pretty open to see how it plays out,” Molitor told reporters. “I’m pretty curious about it. I think there’s some logic to it where we are, with eight wins past a month into the season. I want to see how it goes.” With Minnesota having lost five straight games and nine of its last 10, the Orioles certainly weren’t thrilled to have Monday’s contest rained out after recording a three-game sweep of the Twins to open the season. Baltimore’s Manny Machado is batting .400 in 40 at-bats over the last 10 games after registering two homers and a career-best six RBIs in Sunday’s 11-3 drubbing of the Oakland Athletics.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (0-1, 1.42 ERA) vs. Twins RH Jose Berrios (1-1, 6.75)
Gausman was terrific while receiving a no-decision in his last outing as he scattered three hits over eight scoreless innings against the New York Yankees. He has allowed three earned runs in three starts this season and has given up just 10 hits in 19 innings. Gausman is 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA in three career outings against Minnesota and has been hit hard by Mauer (5-for-8) and outfielder Miguel Sano (2-for-5, two homers).
Berrios was pushed back a day after Monday’s rainout and will be making his third major-league start. The 21-year-old from Puerto Rico earned his first victory in his last outing, when he gave up two runs and three hits – two homers – in 5 1/3 innings against Houston. Berrios struck out eight Astros and has fanned 13 in 9 1/3 innings.
1. Monday’s postponed contest will be made up on July 28.
2. Minnesota 2B Brian Dozier (hamstring) is slated to be in the starting lineup for the first time since Wednesday.
3. Baltimore CF Adam Jones is in a 3-for-24 funk and 1B Chris Davis is in a 1-for-21 slump that has seen the averages of both players drop to .200.
PREDICTION: Orioles 6, Twins 3