(SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Correia will try to improve upon his MLB worst 7.33 ERA as the Minnesota Twins host the Baltimore Orioles for the second installment of a three-game set at Target Field.
Minnesota's pitching has been its glaring weakness throughout the campaign. The Twins' 5.01 ERA is the second worst among major league clubs and their opponent batting average of .284 ranks dead last.
Minnesota has trouble generating anything offensively in the series opener on Friday, as they suffered a 3-0 shutout loss to the Orioles, who received 7 1/3 innings of excellence from starter Ubaldo Jimenez. The first five hitters in the Twins' lineup struck out at least twice each. Nelson Cruz had a two-run homer for Baltimore, winners in three straight. Cruz finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Matt Wieters drove in a run and had his sixth two-hit game in his last seven starts.
Neither team hit well with runners in scoring position, as Baltimore finished 1-for-10 and Minnesota went 0-for-11.
The Orioles are poised to perform better at the plate on Saturday against Correia, who is 0-3 with a 7.33 ERA on the season. Baltimore is still without slugging first baseman Chris Davis, who is on the disabled list with a torn oblique. However, the Orioles' lineup was bolstered this week by the return of star third baseman Manny Machado, who notched his first hit and scored for the first time this season in Friday's victory.
The 33-year old Correia allowed eight runs (seven earned) over just 2 1/3 innings of work against Detroit last Friday. The outing was his shortest since going two innings against the Royals on Aug. 5, 2013.
"I just wasn't able to hit any of my spots," said Correia, who saw his ERA jump from 5.47 to 7.33 in five starts. "I can't pitch like that against a team like that. You're going to get hit around."
Minnesota will have trouble snapping its four-game losing skid if its offense continues to struggle. The Twins compiled only four hits and one walk against 13 strikeouts on Friday. They have certainly shown they are capable of catching fire, as they rank fifth in the MLB in runs scored at 138 and third in on-base percentage (.340).
Starting right fielder Chris Colabello is in the midst of a slump, going just 1-for-16 over the span of Minnesota's current losing streak. Colabello is tied for third in the AL with 27 RBI, while Jason Kubel is batting a team-best .286.
The Twins will try to bounce back against Wei-Yin Chen, who pitched a solid seven innings of two-run ball versus Kansas City last Saturday to take a no- decision.
"My slider was working real well tonight and it makes it a good combination with my fastball," Chen said through his interpreter. "Matt Wieters knows what's working so he called a real good game today."
Chen has not been credited with a loss since his season debut on April 3 against Boston. The southpaw is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts against the Twins. Wieters is hitting .419 with a pair of homers, three doubles and eight RBI over his past seven games.
Baltimore and Minnesota split six meetings a year ago.