The Toronto Blue Jays aim for a three-game road sweep in the series finale against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field
Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins
Toronto aims to extend its season-high winning streak to five games Sunday and outfielder Jose Bautista continues to amaze with his offensive play. “He’s hitting home runs, has a high average, on-base percentage,” said outfielder Corey Patterson. “Typically guys that hit a lot of homers are going to be lacking in something as far as their average goes.” Bautista enters the series finale second in the American League with a .358 batting average and has a major league-high 13 home runs. The Blue Jays are 4-1 versus the Twins this season and now 32-13 against them since the start of the 2006 season after Saturday’s 9-3 win. Toronto is just 4-13 in day games this season.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow enters his fifth start of the year with a 1-2 record and 4.71 ERA and is coming off his worst outing of the season. The right-hander picked up a 10-5 home loss to the Tigers last time out, allowing a season-high five runs in just 3 1/3 innings of work. Morrow will be making his third road start of the 2011 campaign, posting a 1-0 mark and 2.19 ERA, as he’s yet to allow a home run in 12 1/3 frames. He will be making his first career start versus the Twins today, previously tallying an 0-1 record and 6.75 ERA in six relief appearances.
Minnesota is suffering through a seven-game losing streak and will head out on a seven-game road trip following today’s contest. The Twins scattered 13 hits in Saturday’s loss due to being 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and leaving 12 runners on base. The club is on the verge of dropping eight in a row for the first time since 2003 and is already 12 games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland. “You can’t get 20 games below .500 and expect to just all of a sudden come back,” said first baseman Justin Morneau. “This game’s not easy and it’s not something you can just turn around like that.” Hitting isn’t the only issue in the clubhouse, as the starting staff has gone 10-18 with a 4.74 ERA, which is the highest earned-run-average in the league.
Twins starting pitcher Brian Duensing is set to make his eight appearance and seventh start of the season, coming in with a 2-2 mark and 3.32 ERA. The left-hander is hoping for his first normal outing since April 30, as his outing against the Red Sox on May 7 lasted only two innings due to a rain delay at Fenway Park. He also made a relief appearance against the Tigers on Tuesday when scheduled starter Francisco Liriano left with flu-like symptoms. Duensing has a 1-0 record and 3.00 ERA in three home outings (two starts) and has yet to allow a home run in 15 innings. In three previous appearances (two starts) versus the Blue Jays, he has yet to record a decision and has surrendered seven runs and 13 hits over 11 1/3 frames.
Bettors will be interested in backing the Twins due to their 12-1 record in Duensing’s last 13 home starts, while the Blue Jays are 3-7 in their last 10 road games versus a left-handed starter