In 2007, Minnesota was swept in a three-game series just prior to getting a boost with a couple of wins in interleague play. The Colorado Rockies appear to be a good candidate to give the Twins another lift this year.
After a poor ending to a homestand, the Twins look to bounce back when they begin a three-game interleague series with the struggling Rockies on Friday night.
Minnesota (20-20) was swept in a three-game set with Cleveland before beginning interleague play in 2007, and it went on to win the first two games of a three-game series with Milwaukee. Entering their first game against National League competition this season, the Twins will be trying to get back on track after losing three straight against Toronto.
Minnesota was swept after opening its homestand by winning three of four against Boston, but will now face a Colorado team that has lost five straight. The Twins went 11-7 versus the NL in 2007.
Gomez told manager Ron Gardenhire he could play, but the decision was made to let him rest. He’ll likely be back in the lineup Friday.
Gomez is batting .272 with 22 runs, 12 extra-base hits, 14 RBIs and 16 stolen bases, providing a spark as the Twins’ leadoff man after being acquired as part of a trade that sent ace Johan Santana to the New York Mets.
“It’s fun to watch,” Gardenhire said of the 22-year-old, who recently became the first Minnesota player to hit for the cycle in nearly 22 years. “He has a smile on his face and he loves to play.”
Mauer, meanwhile, also is expected to be back in the lineup after being given a day off. Mauer, who leads the Twins with a .328 batting average and 25 runs, has never faced the Rockies.
Minnesota’s lineup helped give Nick Blackburn (3-2, 3.93 ERA) a win in his last start. The right-hander gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings as Minnesota beat Boston 9-8 on Sunday night.
Blackburn has a 5.40 ERA in his last four outings, but has won two of three decisions during that span.
This will be Blackburn’s first appearance in interleague play.
The Rockies (15-26) will counter with Ubaldo Jimenez (1-3, 5.53 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA in his last four starts. The right-hander allowed three runs and five hits while striking out a career-high 11 as Colorado lost 3-2 to San Diego on Saturday night.
Jimenez has never faced an American League team.
Colorado, having given up 26 runs in its last four games, could certainly use a boost from Jimenez. The Rockies lost 8-5 to Arizona on Thursday night, allowing eight runs for the second time in three games against the Diamondbacks.
Colorado posted a 3.94 ERA in interleague play last season, going 10-8.
Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins, who has hit .317 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs in 27 interleague games at Coors Field, is expected to be back in the lineup after getting a break Thursday.
“I feel good, feel all right,” Atkins told Colorado’s official Web site. “But 162 games is a long time. Whenever you get days like this, you try to take advantage of them to recharge mentally and physically.”
This will be the second series between the Rockies and Twins. Minnesota won two of three at home against Colorado in June 2003.