The Minnesota Twins will try to complete a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon when they host the Oakland Athletics in Minneapolis.
Minnesota is coming off a 1-0 win over Oakland on Saturday, which followed a 2-1 victory in the Friday series opener. The Twins have won 13 of their past 16 games to take early control of the AL Central.
Jorge Polanco will try to stay hot at the plate for the Twins. He finished a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday, and his 451-foot home run to center field marked the difference in the game.
As Minnesota surges, Oakland is heading in the opposite direction. The Athletics have lost eight games in a row and are seeking their first win since April 27 against the San Francisco Giants.
Twins right-hander Chris Paddack (1-2, 3.15 ERA) is scheduled to make his fifth start of the season.
Paddack is looking for back-to-back victories after a strong performance Monday in which he allowed one run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out three.
In his first season with the Twins after being acquired from the San Diego Padres, Paddack credited his new pitching coach, Wes Johnson.
“The past few years I’ve been searching with a little doubt on the mound, not having that conviction and confidence every single pitch,” Paddack said. “Getting hit around a little bit, you can search up there on the mound.
“(Johnson) was like, ‘Look at what you did in ’19 before you had a curveball and a slider.’ He said, ‘You’re a better pitcher than you were in ’19.’ Our goal is to put it all together now.”
This will be Paddack’s third career start against Oakland. He is 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA, walking two and striking out 12 in 10 2/3 innings.
Athletics right-hander Daulton Jefferies (1-4, 4.81 ERA) is set to make his sixth start of the season and the eighth start of his career. The 26-year-old California native, making his first appearance against the Twins, already has set a career high with 24 1/3 innings pitched this season.
Jefferies earned a victory in his season debut April 10 against the Philadelphia Phillies but has been tagged with four losses in a row since then. In his most recent outing, he gave up six runs (all earned) on 11 hits in five innings against the Tampa Bay Rays when he walked none and struck out four.
“I actually felt pretty good,” Jefferies said. “I felt like I was attacking and staying competitive in the zone. But when I got ahead, I tried to make it even more nasty instead of just focusing on executing the pitch and being smooth. That’s what I need to work on.
“I’ve got to learn from the good performances and the bad ones. I try to take positives from every outing. I’m just trying to learn through every outing and make consistent starts for the ballclub.”
–Field Level Media