Tyson Ross (1-1, 2.25 ERA), coming in off a 3-1 victory over Kansas City on Sunday where he allowed a run and five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts over seven innings, is scheduled to start for the Tigers. Michael Pineda (1-0, 2.00), who garnered his first win since June 30, 2017, in a 6-2 win at Philadelphia on Saturday, will make his third start for the Twins.
Temperatures are expected to be in the low 40s for both games. That, along with another two-day break since a 9-6 loss in New York to the Mets on Wednesday, has been an obstacle for Minnesota hitters who have had to deal with six days off in the first 16 days of the season.
The Twins finally seemed to be hitting a groove before the latest break, scoring 20 runs on 26 hits in their midweek split with the Mets, not bad considering they had to face the big 1-2 punch of reigning National League Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard on chilly back-to-back nights. Minnesota had its most impressive offensive showing of the season in Tuesday night's 14-8 victory, finishing with six home runs and 17 hits while snapping deGrom's major league record-tying streak of consecutive quality starts at 26.
"With the weather and the days off, these are not the easiest days to go out there, prepare to be ready to play, and go out there and do your job," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "And our guys have just continued to not make excuses, take the field and do their thing."
Finding a groove has been tough for the club's hitters.
"We haven't had a chance to play, but you have to figure out a way to get yourself in a rhythm," second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who had two homers in Tuesday's win and followed it up by going 3-for-4 with and RBI and two runs scored in Wednesday's loss, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "Off days are good but there have been too many in April already."
That shouldn't be a problem moving forward. The Twins are scheduled to play the next 13 days in a row before getting another day off.
Detroit is off to a surprising 8-5 start that includes winning two of three games against the Yankees in New York and enters Saturday's game a half-game ahead of the Twins in the American League Central standings. The Tigers have done it despite ranking last in the majors with just 33 runs scored and a .191 batting average.
"We still haven't really swung the bats really well," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said after his team was blanked on three hits, 4-0, by Cleveland on Thursday afternoon. "We still haven't had one of those days where we're knocking it all over the field. Hopefully we'll eventually break out as an offense and be consistent. That's what we're looking for. Right now, it's not there but we're playing pretty good baseball. We're OK."
Closer Shane Greene leads the majors with eight saves, allowing two hits and a walk in eight innings while striking out seven.
Gardenhire said right fielder Nicholas Castellanos, who missed Thursday's loss with tendonitis in his right big toe, is day-to-day. Center fielder JaCoby Jones, who began the season on the 10-day injured list with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder, made his 2019 debut on Thursday and went 0-for-3.
"It's nice to see him out there running all over the place," Gardenhire said of Jones. "He makes it look easy. That's his gift. It's nice to see him back."
--Field Level Media