A couple of last-place teams are set to meet up at Target Field on Monday, as the Minnesota Twins open a three-game series against the visiting Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Despite a busy offseason, Los Angeles struggled out of the gate by dropping eight of its first 10 games. However, the Angels are coming off back-to-back wins against Houston over the weekend. On Saturday, it was Albert Pujols who came through with a two-run walkoff double for a 5-4 victory. Then on Sunday, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton -- another new addition to the lineup this season -- both homered to lead the way in a 4-1 victory.
"The way we were playing is in the past," Angels third baseman Luis Jimenez said. "Today is a new day and we are going to keep going forward from right here, right now. We are going to keep going hard and trying to keep winning."
Over the last two games, Trout has gone 4-for-8 with a double and a home run. Hamilton also went 4-for-8 over the same span with a triple and two home runs. That duo has inflicted some serious damage against the Twins of late. Hamilton is hitting .368 with 16 RBI in his last 14 meetings against Minnesota, while Trout is 9-for-23 with four doubles in seven games.
The Twins' series finale against the Mets was rained out on Sunday. After a solid start to the season, Minnesota has been on the losing end in each of its last five games. In Saturday's loss, the offense did not manage a hit until the eighth inning against Mets starter Matt Harvey.
Minnesota will give the ball to right-hander Kevin Correia, who was sharp against Kansas City in his last outing before fading late in that game. Correia had a shutout through seven innings before giving up three runs in the eighth to take the loss.
"He was of a mind to finish the ballgame, but it just didn't work out," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was a heck of an effort."
The Halos will turn to Joe Blanton, who yielded six earned runs against Oakland on Wednesday. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA after two starts with his new team, but he has posted a 2.40 ERA over his last two appearances at Target Field. However, this time around he'll have to battle temperatures expected to be in the 30s.
The Angels have won five of their last six against the Twins.
The teams will, of course, take part in the league-wide tribute to Jackie Robinson as all players will wear Robinson's No. 42, which was retired in 1997 under the direction of commissioner Bud Selig.