Since winning four straight starts from April 30 to May 16, Radke is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in his last five outings.
“Radke is one of our best pitchers,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I don’t think people should give up on him. We have all the confidence in the world in him.”
The Twins are coming off a 16-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday as Corey Koskie had four hits, including two homers, and a career-high six RBIs. Minnesota had 23 hits and ended a five-game losing streak.
Following the Royals’ 8-6 victory Wednesday night, several Twins took themselves to task, with Koskie being the most vocal.
“He was just telling everybody to bring the energy. You don’t see Koskie like that very often. You see Koskie upset, you know something’s serious,” center fielder Torii Hunter said.
Ben Sheets will try to give the Brewers a strong outing as he looks to avoid a season-high three-game losing streak. Sheets has lost consecutive starts since going 4-1 with a 3.99 ERA in his previous seven starts.
He gave up five runs—two earned—and seven hits over seven innings in a 12-4 loss to Florida on June 10, and followed that by giving up five runs and six hits over seven innings in a 5-4 loss at Baltimore on Sunday. Sheets has allowed a major league-leading 22 homers.
Milwaukee has lost three straight, including an 8-4 setback to St. Louis on Thursday. The Brewers watched their second straight starter give up eight earned runs as Ruben Quevedo allowed 10 hits and three walks in five innings.
Struggling left-hander Glendon Rusch gave up eight runs and six hits and five walks in one-plus inning of a 9-1 loss Wednesday.
However, Milwaukee might have found a potential starter in the latest loss as rookie Matt Ford gave up one hit in four scoreless innings.
“He got extended a little bit today, so if we need him to start, that helps,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said.
Ford, who pitched in Class A last year, said he’s willing to do whatever Yost wants him to and wouldn’t be timid about starting “because I’ve been a starter all my life.”
STANDINGS: Twins - 1st place, AL Central. Brewers - 6th place, 11 GB, NL Central.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Radke (5-6, 6.00 ERA). The right-hander is 3-5 with a 3.32 ERA in 11 career starts against the Brewers.
BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Sheets (6-6, 4.51 ERA). The right-hander is 1-5 with a 6.33 ERA in seven career interleague starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Twins - Jacque Jones, .311 avg. and 45 runs; Jones, Koskie and Hunter, 9 HRs; Koskie and A.J. Pierzynski, 45 RBIs; Jones and Koskie, 6 SBs. Brewers - Scott Podsednik, .307 avg.; Richie Sexson, 21 HRs, 48 runs and 49 RBIs; Eric Young, 16 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Twins - 7-5; Brewers - 2-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Twins - Hitters have 17 homers and a .309 average against RHP Radke. … On Thursday, 3B Koskie had his 10th career four-hit game, and fourth multihomer effort. … OF Dustin Mohr and C Pierzynski homered against RHP Sheets last season. Brewers - 1B Sexson tied a career high with four hits on Thursday. … Yost said he won’t decide until Friday at the earliest whether LHP Rusch will remain in the starting rotation. Rusch is 1-11 with an 8.61 ERA and has lost 10 straight games—one shy of Chris Bosio’s club record. … 2B Enrique Cruz went 1-for-4 to end an 0-13 skid and raise his average to .125.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Twins - 21-15 on the road; Brewers - 13-26 at home.
INJURIES: Twins - INF Chris Gomez (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (knee), 60-day DL. Brewers - RHP Jayson Durocher (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (shoulder), 15-day DL.