Playing well on the road, Tigers out to extend Twins’ woes

Field Level Media

April 19, 2024 at 3:29 am.

The slumping Minnesota Twins will look to get on track when they open a seven-game homestand on Friday night against the Detroit Tigers.

The Twins — who are 1-4 at home — will look to snap a four-game losing streak, which includes a three-game sweep against the Baltimore Orioles. Minnesota was outscored 22-9 by the Orioles, including a 4-2 loss on a walk-off homer in Wednesday’s series finale.

Twins right-hander Griffin Jax said he and his teammates are trying to find their footing after a rough start. They have lost 11 of their first 17 games, and Royce Lewis, Carlos Correa and Jhoan Duran are among those out with injuries.

“There’s a lot of tension and pressure that everybody’s put on themselves,” Jax said. “When you look around and there’s a lot of key guys missing, a lot of guys may be, myself included, trying to do too much at times.”

The Tigers are off to a better start as they embark on a six-game road trip that concludes with three games in St. Petersburg, Fla., against the Rays. Detroit has won 10 of its first 19 games and is 6-2 away from home.

Tigers right-hander Jack Flaherty (0-1, 4.91 ERA) will look for his first victory with his new team. The 28-year-old is making his second consecutive start against the Twins after allowing three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings at home Sunday.

In two career starts against Minnesota, Flaherty is 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA.

The Twins will counter with right-hander Joe Ryan (0-1, 2.60), who also is looking for his first victory in his fourth start of the season. Ryan faced the Tigers in his most recent start, when he allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits and struck out 12 in six innings.

In seven career starts against Detroit, Ryan is 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA. He has walked only six and struck out 57 in 41 1/3 innings.

The Tigers are coming off a 3-5 homestand, splitting four games against the Twins and losing three of four to the Texas Rangers.

That included a 9-7 defeat on Thursday afternoon. The score was tied 7-7 before Texas scored one run in the eighth and another in the ninth.

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said he was encouraged by the recent performance of shortstop Javy Baez, who went 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI on Thursday.

“With Javy, first off, he had really good at-bats today,” Hinch said. “I thought he made good decisions in the field. He continues to be consistent on defense.

“At-bat by at-bat, we’ve got to avoid the (idea that) every time he chases, the world’s coming to an end. It’s part of his struggle that he’s always battling. Today when he hunts fastball, gets fastball and smokes a ball to left, and then he stayed on another pitch and hit another double … that’s competing at this level.

“When he swings the bat well like that, you can see what a different offense we have toward the bottom of the order.”

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