The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins continue their nine-game homestand Tuesday night when they begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.
Minnesota (6-6) opened the season by going 1-5 on a road trip through Toronto and Cleveland. The Twins have returned home to go 5-1 after sweeping Oakland and winning two of three against the New York Yankees.
“We made a good stand here against some very good baseball teams,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’re .500 against four teams that are going to be contending for the playoffs. That’s not bad from the way we started.”
The Twins have dropped five of the last six meetings against the two-time reigning AL West champion Angels, going 4-6 against them last season. Minnesota managed a total of only 13 runs in the six losses.
Minnesota’s five-game winning streak ended with a 9-3 loss to New York on Sunday. Starter Brad Radke was roughed up for six runs and 10 hits over six innings as the Twins missed a chance at their first three-game sweep of the Yankees since 1991.
“The guys are a little sore, and we’ll come back Tuesday and go at another good team again,” Gardenhire said.
Twins left fielder Shannon Stewart is a career .345 hitter with 52 runs scored in 78 games against the Angels. Last season, Stewart hit safely in all 10 games against Los Angeles, hitting .375 (15-for-40) while scoring only four runs.
Minnesota starter Carlos Silva is hoping to remain perfect against Los Angeles when he gets the ball. Silva is 4-0 with a 2.86 ERA in five career starts against the Angels, including two wins in as many outings last season.
The right-hander earned his first victory of the season Wednesday by allowing five runs and eight hits over seven innings in a 6-5 win over Oakland. He’s allowed five earned runs in both outings this year.
Silva is 6-3 with a 3.64 ERA over his last 15 home starts.
Angels center fielder Darin Erstad has had the most success against Silva, going 8-for-18.
Minnesota will have veteran slugger Ruben Sierra available Tuesday for the first time. Sierra’s contract was purchased Sunday from Single-A Fort Myers, where he rehabilitated a strained quadriceps and went 3-for-12.
Los Angeles (6-7) fell to 1-3 on its 10-game road trip after a 4-2 loss at Baltimore on Monday. Chone Figgins concluded a difficult series by going hitless in four at-bats.
Figgins went 3-for-16 in the series and scored only two runs. He’s gone six straight games without a multihit effort.
The Angels also expect closer Francisco Rodriguez to be available for this series. Rodriguez left Sunday’s victory over the Orioles with a cramp in his right hamstring.
“I feel pretty good today,” Rodriguez said Monday. “It’s the first time it’s happened to me.”
Kelvim Escobar makes his first road start of the season for Los Angeles. Escobar has split his first two starts of the season after being reached for eight runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings in an 11-3 loss to Texas last Wednesday.
The veteran right-hander is 3-3 with a 4.03 ERA in his seven career starts against the Twins, also going 0-3 with a 18.90 ERA in seven relief appearances.
Escobar dropped his lone outing at the Metrodome last season, allowing four runs and nine hits over seven innings in a 4-2 loss on April 30.
Slumping Twins outfielder Rondell White is 8-for-20 against Escobar. White is hitting just .085 (4-for-47) this year.