Minnesota’s expected starting battery will try to extend a pair of streaks Wednesday afternoon when the Twins and Dodgers finish their three-game set at Target Field.
After a more than two-month absence to recover from bilateral leg weakness, Mauer went 3 for 20 (.120) in his first week back after rejoining the team June 17. He’s recently started to find his hitting stroke, and comes in on a modest four-game streak that’s raised his batting average 22 points to .208.
History strongly indicates Mauer could add to that run. The four-time All-Star is batting .630 (17 for 27) lifetime versus the Dodgers, hitting safely in all seven games he’s played.
He had an RBI single in the first inning Tuesday, helping Minnesota to a 6-4 win and bounce back from an embarrassing 15-0 blowout the previous night.
“The great thing about baseball is you get to play every day,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We just turned the page.”
Mauer likely will be behind the plate while Baker (5-5, 3.39 ERA) looks to continue his unbeaten streak at home in interleague play.
The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.77 ERA over his last five starts in Minneapolis, stretching back to 2008 when the Twins (33-45) played in Metrodome. Baker has pitched 35 2-3 innings in that span, striking out 41 while walking only four.
The last of those wins came June 18 when he held San Diego to four hits over eight innings and fanned 10 in the Twins’ 1-0 win.
“He’s one of those guys you don’t hear about a whole lot just because you’re in the other league,” Padres catcher Nick Hundley(notes) said. “If he was in the National League, you’d definitely hear about him.”
However, Baker followed with his third road loss in four starts after being reached for four runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings of Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Milwaukee.
Aaron Miles(notes) homered and Andre Ethier(notes) had two hits and two RBIs Tuesday for Los Angeles (36-45), which hasn’t had a four-game winning streak this year. The Dodgers also continue to deal with the fallout from owner Frank McCourt’s ongoing battles in the courts, with Major League Baseball leaning towards filing a motion to seize day-to-day control of the cash-strapped franchise.
“For the most part, we’ve been able to put a couple games together,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Looks like we might get something going here or there, and then we just seem to fall back. Obviously we’re going to need to win tomorrow and keep trying to put this thing together.”
After getting knocked around while losing his last two starts at home, the Dodgers’ Rubby De La Rosa(notes) (3-2, 5.26) will look for better results on the road while meeting Minnesota for the first time.
In his last two starts at Chavez Ravine, the rookie right-hander has posted an 8.44 ERA. Against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, De La Rosa was tagged for five runs and nine hits - including two homers - and walked four over six innings of the Dodgers’ 8-3 loss.
In three road contests with two starts, De La Rosa is 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA. Control is an issue, though, as he’s walked eight in 10 innings as a starter.