Series Preview: Minnesota Twins

Hunter's bat has started to heat up (Getty Images)

Seattle and Minnesota both pride themselves on pitching and defense, and rely on "small-ball" to score runs. It's a style of play that has worked wonders for both organizations in recent years. They'll clash for a four-game series starting Thursday.

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Minneapolis, Minn.

Seattle (33-18, 16-7 road)
Minnesota (31-20, 15-10 home)

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Thursday, May 29, 5:05 p.m. FSN

Seattle: Gil Meche (6-2, 2.86 ERA)
Minnesota: Brad Radke (5-4, 4.53)

Friday, May 30, 5:05 p.m. UPN 11

Seattle: Joel Pineiro (4-4, 4.41)
Minnesota: Kyle Lohse (4-3, 3.06)

Saturday, May 31, 1:05 p.m. FOX 13

Seattle: Ryan Franklin (3-3, 3.57)
Minnesota: Rick Reed (3-5, 4.10)

Sunday, June 1, 11:05 a.m. FSN

Seattle: Freddy Garcia (4-6, 5.54) Minnesota: Kenny Rogers (4-1, 4.31)


WHO'S HOT?

Seattle:
Freddy Garcia finally got another win this week against Kansas City. Sure it may be only one win, but it was his first in four starts and is also the first time in four starts that that the two-time All Star hasn't given up at least 7 runs. That's something M's fans should hope continues in June. John Olerud has finally shown signs of returning to form, hitting .421 with 4 RBI over the last week. Bret Boone has also had a very good week, hitting two homeruns. Half of his hits in the past six game have been of the extra base variety.

Minnesota:
The Twins' bullpen is quickly emerging as one of the finest in Major League Baseball. With ultra reliable set-up men like LaTroy Hawkins (4-0, 1.52), J.C. Romero (1-0, 2.82), and closer Eddie Guardado (15, 1.59), Minnesota looks to be set for years to come. Hawkins has been the Twins main set-up man, being utilized mostly in the seventh and eighth innings. Romero's stats are a little deceiving considering he has been the Twins primary situational pitcher, getting key outs in big wins over the past weeks. "Everyday" Eddie Guardado has sustained his status as one of the leagues top closers, and is currently second in the American League with 15 saves. As far as hitting goes, Dustin Mohr and Bobby Kielty have become a two headed DH/RF monster. While switching off at those positions they have combined for 4 homers, 10 RBI's, and a .240 avg. in the past six games. Catcher AJ Pierzynski has gotten into act with 5 RBI's and a .381 avg. during the same time span.


WHO'S NOT?

Seattle:
Joel Pineiro took one of the two losses over the past week, giving up 6 runs and 12 hits over 5 innings. Giovanni Carrara gave up 3 runs in two appearances over the least week, and has been getting hit hard as of late. If his struggles continue, the Mariners may look to some of their young minor league arms for help in long-relief.

Minnesota:
Even though Corey Koskie had two homeruns over the last week, they were his only two hits. Koskie went 2 for 17. To make matters worse, his homers were both solo shots. On an even more sour note, shortstop Christian Guzman went 0 for 16 over the past week.


Richie Stone hails from the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, where there are more fans at the local Walmart than at Braves playoff games. He can be reached at stoneyrich11@aol.com.

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