A day after David Price posted the Rays first complete game start of the 2013 season — finishing of the White Sox in a three game sweep — Tampa Bay will welcome the Minnesota Twins to the friendly confines of the Trop for a four game set, starting Monday. The Rays are hot at the moment, winning the last four consecutive series while going 11-4 over a 15 game stretch. Tampa Bay is sitting in second place in the AL East for the first time since the beginning of April, tied with the Baltimore Orioles, and a half game over the third place Yankees.
On the contrary, the Minnesota Twins have gone 4-11 over the same stretch, dropping seven of their last eight. To be fair, offense is not the problem with the Twins, it’s the pitching. They’ve averaged almost five runs per game over the last 15 games, while the pitching has given up (on average) almost six. This bodes well for the swarming offense of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Samuel Deduno: Per Rotowire, “Deduno (4-2) was sharp Thursday against the Royals, earning the win by throwing seven innings and allowing one run on five hits and one walk.” Previous to 2012, Deduno spent most of his career with NL organizations (Rockies and Padres). Because of it, only one Ray — James Loney — has any experience against the Twins 30 year-old righty. A pitch to contact type of pitcher, Deduno features four pitches: a low 90’s cutter and four-seam fastball, a hard curveball which he throws primarily to lefties, and a sparingly thrown change-up.
Kyle Gibson: Per Rotowire, “Gibson suffered the first loss of his career Thursday when he gave up eight runs and 11 hits in just 5.1 innings against the Yankees.” Gibson has made two major league starts, accruing a win and a loss. Gibson got BABIP’d in his recent start against the Yankees, giving up five extra base-hits to go along with six singles and one walk. Leaning heavily on his change-up and low 90’s two-seam and four-seam fastballs, Gibson errs from throwing his slider to righties, though he typically throws both that pitch and his cutter sparingly.
Kevin Correia: Per Rotowire, “Correia gave up two earned runs on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts Tuesday against the Marlins.” The Rays last faced Correia when he pitched with the Padres, touching him for two runs on three hits and five walks over 5-1/3 innings of work.
Mike Pelfrey: Per Rotowire, “Pelfrey (back) returned from the disabled list to toss six shutout innings against the Blue Jays on Saturday.” Pelfrey is a sinker-baller who wants nothing more than to get you to pound the ball into the ground. Often times he’s successful, though he’s given up four or more runs in half his starts this season.
- The Rays are batting .290 with 5.4 runs per game in their last nine.
- Desmond Jennings has been a big part over that stretch, leading the Rays with 14 hits and 10 runs.
- Minnesota has lost seven of its last eight — allowing 53 runs combined.
- Joe Mauer is sitting on a six-game hitting streak with a .312 batting average, while Brian Dozier is 12-for-37 with eight RBIs in the last 10 contests for the Twins.
- The Rays lost the first meeting with Minnesota last year before winning the last five. The Rays are 13-8 against the Twins at the Trop since 2006.
- The Rays bullpen had a major league-worst 4.96 ERA through the first 49 games, though they’ve recorded a 2.47 mark over the last 40.
- Since June 23, the Rays are 11-3 and their starters have a 1.95 ERA and a .193 OBA.
- Luke Scott is hitting .377 BA/.421 OBP/.679 SLG with eight doubles, a triple, two homers, and 10 RBI over his last 17 games.
- I’d just like to reiterate, Ben Zorbrist is once again an All-Star. Hand picked — ironically — by Tigers manager Jim Leyland, Zo reclaims a spot on the All-Star roster for the first time since 2010. Hear what he has to say about being nominated below: