The month of May has been very good for the Minnesota Twins, who have now won nine of their last 11, outscoring opponents 89-37 over that stretch.
This red-hot run is something that nobody would have predicted a month ago when the Twins limped out to a 1-6 start and easily looked like one of the worst teams in baseball. Minnesota now has what is possibly their biggest series to date ahead of them as they return to where the 2015 season began: Detroit.
The Detroit Tigers absolutely embarrassed the Twins to open the season and held them to just a single run in the entire three-game series while putting up 22 runs of their own. This helped quickly establish the Tigers as a true contender in the American League while indicating that Minnesota would, once again, be a doormat for the league.
What seemed to be a lopsided mismatch in early April suddenly doesn’t look like that anymore. While the Tigers still hold one of the best records in the American League, the Twins have blasted their way back by winning series against the White Sox, Athletics and Indians and this suddenly looks like a matchup between two teams who will be fighting for a playoff spot.
There is a lot that this Twins team needs to prove over their next three games. The new-look Twins need to show baseball that they can play with — and beat — one of the best teams in the American League, and doing it on the road can prove even more.
Minnesota, who is currently holding onto the league’s second wild card spot, is an AL-best 12-5 at home this year. This makes the Twins just 6-9 on the road, including 0-3 in Detroit.
The action begins tomorrow night when Kyle Gibson takes the ball for Minnesota against Alfredo Simon. Gibson lasted just 3.2 innings against the Tigers on April 9th as he allowed six earned runs. The 27-year-old right hander is one of many Twins who has improved since the opening series and he is 3-1 since that loss. He has allowed just two earned runs over his last three starts, which have spanned a total of 21 innings pitched.
Ricky Nolasco and the shockingly undefeated Mike Pelfrey will also take the hill for Minnesota in the series. The Twins will miss Tigers ace David Price, who has traditionally dominated the team including a stellar 8.2 shutout inning effort on Opening Day.