The Minnesota Twins will open a nine-game homestand when they host the Oakland Athletics on Friday night in Minneapolis.
The Twins are back home after going 4-3 on a road trip to Tampa Bay and Baltimore. Minnesota started the season with eight losses in 12 games but has gone 11-3 since then to grab an early lead in the American League Central.
Meanwhile, Oakland is headed in the opposite direction as it remains in search of its first win this month. The Athletics have lost six games in a row and nine of 11.
“There’s some anger in (the clubhouse),” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “They know we had opportunities to win games this homestand, and we didn’t get it done. Every team goes through these situations. My whole focus with the group is to continue to keep the mindset of winning the day.”
Kotsay said he did not see the need for a closed-door meeting or a personnel shakeup.
“If it was lack of effort or lack of fight, then there’d be a message that needs to be sent,” Kotsay said. “These guys are battling. They’re grinding. This is part of the grind through the season. You try to weather the storm.”
Twins right-hander Josh Winder (1-0, 2.20 ERA) will make the fifth appearance and second start of his rookie campaign.
The 25-year-old from Virginia Military Institute made his starting debut Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays and earned his first career victory by allowing no runs on two hits in six innings. He has walked four and struck out 12 in 16 1/3 innings this season.
“I feel like I got most of the nerves out after the first time, after the debut,” Winder said following his first start. “So, it was kind of nice to ease my way into having more control of the game and it being my game. So (I’m) definitely easing into the starting role. Definitely made me feel very confident out there and really comfortable.”
Friday would have been left-hander Cole Irvin’s turn in the Athletics’ rotation, but he was placed on the injured list Thursday because of shoulder soreness. Irvin (2-1, 2.93 ERA) is expected to be sidelined until at least late May.
Oakland had not announced a starter in Irvin’s place, but rookie left-hander Zach Logue is a possible choice. If Logue gets the call, it would be his second game overall and the first start of his career.
Logue, 26, was the Toronto Blue Jays’ ninth-round draft pick in 2017 after pitching for Kentucky. Oakland acquired him before the start of the season as part of a package of prospects in exchange for Matt Chapman.
In his debut on April 19, Logue pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Baltimore Orioles. He allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one while throwing 16 of 27 pitches for strikes.
This series will mark the first three games out of six meetings this season between the teams. The A’s and Twins are scheduled to square off in Oakland from May 16-18.
–Field Level Media