When and where: July 19, 2019, Target Field, Minneapolis, MN, 8:10 PM ET
The streaking Oakland Athletics will put their red-hot run on the line over the weekend in a head-to-head clash with the Minnesota Twins. After back-to-back sweeps over the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox, the A’s will try to shut down the AL Central-leading Twins, who were recently upset in a two-game series with the New York Mets. Chris Bassitt gets the green light to start on the mound for the A’s opposite of Minnesota’s Jake Odorizzi.
A’s hoping for a first place opening
Things are eerily beginning to fall into place for the A’s. The Houston Astros haven’t looked anywhere near the juggernaut team from earlier in the season. They are 3-4 on the other side of the All-Star break, and they haven’t been as consistent on defense. There’s also the third-place Texas Rangers, who are riding a four-game losing streak and in danger of falling deeper in the standings.
The A’s have a legitimate chance to close the gap on first place right now.
They have won their last six consecutive games against a young and unproven White Sox team and the last-place Seattle Mariners.
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) July 17, 2019
The A’s have also taken tough victories in series meetings against the Twins and Los Angeles Angels in the last month. They’ll have an opportunity to go head-to-head with the Twins again before their much-anticipated three-game meeting with the Astros. First place could be up for grabs, depending on how the weekend shakes out.
Bassitt will certainly try to keep his team in the hunt when he gets the start against the Twins on Friday. He is throwing a 3.98 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 83.2 innings pitched so far this season. The 30-year-old righty is 2-1 in his last three appearances, including a six-inning shutout performance against the White Sox last Saturday.
Twins’ offensive struggles prove costly
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the previous series, aside from the Twins losing to the Mets, was how poorly they played on offense. Granted, they gave up 14 runs in Wednesday’s finale, which is a whole other set of problems, but they also never showed any fight at the plate to at least make things competitive. Despite being the third-best run-scoring offense in the league, they’ve only mustered an average of 3.00 runs in their last three outings.
That isn’t going to cut it when forced to keep up with some of the league’s more elite offenses. They lead the Indians in first place by four games in the AL Central division, but there are still a ton of games left in the season-long marathon. Not to mention the Twins’ next two home opponents are the A’s and New York Yankees. The great city of Minnesota could be in for a rough ride.
Right-handed pitcher Odorizzi hopes to smooth things over when he steps on the mound on Friday. The veteran righty is coming off a strong performance after holding the Indians to one run in five-plus innings. It isn’t a surprise considering he’s averaging a 3.06 ERA with an 11-4 record on the season. The Twins have every right to be confident every time he’s on the mound.
- Athletics are 20-6 in their last 26 games on grass.
- Athletics are 19-7 in their last 26 road games.
- Athletics are 19-7 in their last 26 games against a right-handed starter.
- Athletics are 8-3 in their last 11 Friday games.
- Twins are 1-4 in the last 5 head-to-head meetings in Minnesota.
- Twins are 2-7 in the last 9 head-to-head meetings.
- Twins are 0-3 straight up in last 3 games.