Minnesota is trying to right itself after dropping three of four to Cleveland at the Metrodome this past weekend, capped by Sunday’s 5-3 defeat in 10 innings.
The Twins have lost six of seven to fall within a game of the break-even mark. A loss in this contest would drop them to .500 for the first time since they were 15-15 on May 4.
“It’s getting real old,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “A lot of people are getting very frustrated. We think we have a team that can compete, and we should compete, and we haven’t done that. So we just need to find a way to get it done.”
An inconsistent offense is a big reason why Minnesota has lost six of its last seven series.
The Twins have averaged just 3.4 runs in their last 16 games. Before that stretch, they had been scoring 5.1 runs per game this season.
Leading hitter Jacque Jones has yet to play this month due to a strained groin and was placed on the disabled list Saturday. Doug Mientkiwicz has no homers and eight RBIs in his last 25 games. Pierzynski, third on the team with 47 RBIs, has driven in just two runs in his last 13 contests.
Offense has not been much of a problem for Texas, but a pitching staff with a major league-worst 5.97 ERA has resulted in the team being mired in a distant last place in the AL West.
The Rangers, however, received a solid performance from their hurlers in their series against the Seattle Mariners over the weekend. Texas won two of three games, limiting the AL West leaders to a total of seven runs.
“It’s a game that can be very contagious, both good and bad,” said Rangers center fielder Doug Glanville, who had a two-run single in Sunday’s 5-1 win. “Pitchers are throwing well and we’re getting some timely hits, so hopefully it can continue.”
STANDINGS: Twins - 2nd place, 3 1/2 GB, AL Central. Rangers - 4th place, 20 GB, AL West.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Kyle Lohse (6-6, 4.19 ERA). The right-hander has been ineffective of late, allowing five earned runs or more in each of his last four starts. Minnesota has lost all four of those games, but has played well enough that Lohse has been charged with a loss in only two of them. In his last outing, Lohse gave up five runs and six hits over five innings Wednesday, but did not get a decision in the 8-6 defeat at Chicago. He is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in four games—three starts—against Texas in his career.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Tony Mounce (1-2, 3.42 ERA). The rookie left-hander is coming off his first major league win, pitching 5 1-3 innings in a 6-5 victory over Anaheim on Thursday night. The 28-year-old Mounce, whose elbow surgery two years ago hampered his progress, gave up three runs and six hits without walking a batter. He had walked a total of 14 in his four previous starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Twins - Corey Koskie, .300 avg., 14 HRs, 54 RBIs and 48 runs; Luis Rivas and Cristian Guzman, 7 SBs. Rangers - Hank Blalock, .328 avg.; Alex Rodriguez, 21 HRs and 57 runs; Juan Gonzalez, 59 RBIs; Rodriguez and Michael Young, 7 SBs.
2002 SEASON SERIES: Twins, 6-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Twins - Minnesota is 35-2 when leading after seven innings. … RHP Lohse has allowed six home runs in his last 15 innings. … The Twins have dropped nine of 11 on the road. Rangers - 1B-DH Rafael Palmeiro hit his 510th career home run Sunday and reached 20 homers for the 13 straight season, tying the seventh-longest streak in major league history. … OF Gonzalez is batting .333 (10-for-30) with two homers and nine RBIs in seven games since rejecting a trade to Montreal. … LHP Aaron Fultz, on the disabled list with a bruised shoulder, allowed three runs and two homers in one inning of a rehab stint for Triple-A Oklahoma.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Twins - 22-20 on the road; Rangers - 20-24 at home.
INJURIES: Twins - IF Chris Gomez (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (knee), 60-day DL. Rangers - LHP Fultz (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; IF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.