Major League Baseball
Preview
Minnesota at Tampa Bay
When: 7:10 PM ET, Friday, April 20, 2018
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

The Minnesota Twins endured a strange schedule over the last few weeks but have not lost their momentum as they prepare to visit the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night to open a three-game series. The Twins had four games postponed due to poor weather between April 8-15, followed that up with a two-game series as the home team in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but still managed won four of their last five contests overall.

Minnesota welcomed the day off after using eight pitchers in a 2-1, 16-inning victory over Cleveland on Wednesday to split the series in San Juan and remain atop the American League Central. Lance Lynn tries to give the Twins bullpen even more rest when he takes the mound for the opener Friday versus struggling Rays right-hander Chris Archer, who has been dominant against Minnesota in his career with a 6-1 record and 1.84 ERA. Tampa Bay no longer has the worst record in the AL after winning two of three from Texas to start the week, earning a 4-2 triumph in the rubber match on Wednesday as C.J. Cron extended his hitting streak to eight games (12-for-31). “We have to own the fact that we’re whatever our record is right now, but we also can be somewhat satisfied that we are playing hard. It just hasn’t gone our way,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told the Tampa Bay Times of his 5-13 team. “I don’t think it would be smart of me or anybody to critique the effort when it has been good.”

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FS North Plus (Minnesota), FS Sun (Tampa Bay)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Lance Lynn (0-1, 5.00 ERA) vs. Rays RH Chris Archer (1-1, 7.84)

Lynn was scheduled to make his third start last Saturday, but weather postponements forced a reshuffling of the rotation and he finally gets a chance to match his most recent stellar effort. The 30-year-old Ole Miss product was pounded in his Twins debut before limiting Houston to three hits and four walks over five scoreless innings with nine strikeouts on April 9. Lynn is 0-1 with a 3.77 ERA in three appearances (two starts) versus the Rays and has handcuffed Carlos Gomez (4-for-26, 14 strikeouts).

Archer has yet to post a quality start or complete more than six innings in his first four trips to the mound, and he is coming off his worst performance. The 29-year-old, two-time All Star gave up six runs in the second inning Saturday and ended up yielding seven over four frames with just two strikeouts in a loss to Philadelphia. Eddie Rosario is 3-for-9 with a pair of doubles against Archer, who has handled Brian Dozier (3-for-21, seven strikeouts) and Miguel Sano (1-for-9, 8 strikeouts) very well.

WALK-OFFS

1. Tampa Bay INF Brad Miller (groin strain), out since April 8, could return from the disabled list as early as Friday.

2. Minnesota CF Byron Buxton (migraines) was placed on the 10-day disabled list and his replacement, OF Ryan LaMarre, had the winning hit Wednesday.

3. Rays C Wilson Ramos is starting to warm up with the bat, going 8-for-24 with a homer and four RBIs in his last six games, raising his average to .220.

PREDICTION: Rays 6, Twins 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Minnesota 8-5 W1 5-3 3-2 2-1 2-1 3-2 1-1
Tampa Bay 5-13 W1 3-7 2-6 1-8 2-1 2-1 0-3
Last Meeting
Minnesota Tampa Bay
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
9/6/17 MIN 10 TB 6 .324 2 .976 .242 3 .870
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Minnesota N/A
Tampa Bay N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Minnesota E. Adrianza 0 0 0
Tampa Bay J. Alvarado 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Minnesota 0.00 .000 0
Tampa Bay 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Minnesota J. Mauer .364 16 .977
Tampa Bay M. Smith .373 19 .928
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Minnesota B. Dozier 4 12 7
Tampa Bay C. Gomez 2 8 4
Pitching ERA Avg K
Minnesota 3.05 .232 121
Tampa Bay 4.80 .235 149