Game time: First pitch set for 1:10 p.m. ET; July 28, 2021
Venue: Target Field, Minneapolis, MN
Where to watch: Bally Sports Detroit, Bally Sports North, MLB Network (out of market)
Detroit Tigers: 47-55 (third place, American League Central
Minnesota Twins: 43-58 (last place, A.L. Central)
Opening odds at U.S. Sportsbooks:
DraftKings -- Moneyline has Twins -150, Under at 10.5
Detroit: Jose Urena (groin), Julio Teheran (shoulder)
Minnesota: Byron Buxton (lower body)
Projected Starting pitcher - Wily Peralta
Projected Starting pitcher - J.A. Happ
Batting Average: Schoop (.288)
Hits: Schoop (110)
Home Runs: Schoop (17)
RBI: Schoop (60)
Stolen Bases: Baddoo (14)
Wins: Skubal (6)
Saves: Soto (11)
ERA: Peralta (2.56)
Batting Average: Arraez (.305)
Hits: Polanco (92)
Home Runs: Donaldson (16)
RBI: Polanco (49)
Stolen Bases: Polanco (9)
Wins: Berrios (7)
Saves: Robles (10)
ERA: Duffey (3.29)
It's been a weird year in the AL Central. The Chicago White Sox are running away with what's normally the best division in baseball. They have an 8.5-game lead on Cleveland, and then a huge dropoff from 3-5.
That's where the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers come into play.
It seems like yesterday the Twins were a 101-win team with a foundation worthy of challenging for MLB lore. After being swept in consecutive postseasons, the Twins find themselves dead last in the AL Central and 15 games below .500.
The rebuild has begun, as the Twins enter Monday having lost 5 of 7. Minnesota traded Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay on Thursday, who had 19 home runs before the move to the reigning AL champs. It's a far cry from April when it was expected the Twin Cities would be in contention again.
Instead, they're looking up at the Tigers in the standings. If they were a halfway decent team on the road, it might be a playoff push in Detroit. Plenty of time, but the Tigers have lost four in a row in the midst of their six-game road trip. The second game of this three-game series at Minnesota took place on Tuesday night and the sixth and final game is Wednesday.
A noticeable trend, though: The Tigers are 11-1 in their last 12 Wednesday games. The Twins, however, have won five of their past six at home against a right-handed starter.
Players to watch
Detroit: Rookie outfielder Akil Baddoo is making a charge for American League Rookie of the Year. His numbers overall have quieted, but Baddoo has stayed consistent with four homers and a .628 slugging percentage in his past 10 games. Outside of Baddoo and Jonathan Schoop, there's been no offensive production. Miguel Cabrera continues to struggle in the box. The stats overall in Detroit have been an eye-sore, but there are fun players like Baddoo providing a bright spot.
Minnesota: The Twins are about to clean up shop with this disappointing season, and it's a shock Miguel Sano was not offloaded sooner. If the Twins want to finish strong, he's got to be better than this. That 34-homer season seems so long ago. He batted .204 last season despite 13 home runs in 53 games, but 15 homers in 2021 while batting .200 is just abysmal. The Twins odds of making the playoffs would be better if he were at least a .250 hitter. When your best hitter is 30-year-old Mitch Garver, it's time to evaluate things. Josh Donaldson is reportedly
on the trade block. It's just a mess, and Sano's offense needs to be better.
DET - MIN series recap
The Twins are 8-5 in the season series entering Tuesday's matchup.
“You always want to do better as a player, no matter where you’re at season-wise or stats-wise. I take a lot of pride in what I do and I’m not where I want to be. I’m proud of our team. I’m proud of how we’ve played and grown." -- Tigers outfielder Robbie Grossman
"To be honest, I think Kenta being a good athlete and good runner, no disrespect to Mitch, but I think Kenta's probably faster than him." -- Twins manager Rocco Baldelli on having pitcher Kenta Maeda scoring the winning run on Monday.
Would expect J.A. Happ to have a strong outing at home in a day game. If he can get six innings of work and keep the Detroit runners at bay, it will be a decent win for the Twins to hopefully get back on track. Twins 5, Tigers 1.
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