American League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 9th (All times Eastern)
LA Angels of Anaheim (1-2) at Minnesota Twins (0-3), 4:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: LA Angels - C.J. Wilson (0-0, 0.00) Minnesota - Nick Blackburn (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - It appears as if the Angels' big offensive acquisition is rounding into form. Los Angeles is next set to debut its big addition to the rotation this afternoon when C.J. Wilson takes the hill against the Twins in their home opener in Minnesota.
The Angels call on Wilson to begin this three-game series after signing the left-hander to a five-year, $77.5 million deal on the heels of adding first baseman Albert Pujols with a monster contract. Wilson comes to Los Angeles after helping to lead the Rangers to consecutive World Series appearances.
The 31-year-old went 16-7 with a 2.94 earned run average in 34 starts with rival Texas last season after winning 15 games the year before. Wilson has made the Angels investment look good so far, going 4-0 with a 1.11 ERA in six starts during Spring Training.
Set to begin this third season as a full-time starter, the 2011 All-Star is 2-3 with three saves and a 4.73 ERA in 22 career games versus the Twins, five of those starts.
The Angels come into this series having lost two of three to the Royals, but did see Pujols drive in his first run of the season in Sunday's 7-3 loss. The former NL MVP is 3-for-10 on the season with a pair of doubles and two walks following a two-hit performance yesterday.
Vernon Wells added a solo homer, but starter Ervin Santana was tagged for six runs -- five earned -- over 5 2/3 innings and Los Angeles went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
"It's only three games into the season. We're trying to fine-tune our game," said the Angels' Howie Kendrick. "Those guys over there swung the bats well and their pitchers did well."
Things went even worse for the Twins over the weekend as they were swept by the Orioles to post their first 0-3 start since losing the first four games of the 1981 season. They were also nearly no-hit in Sunday's 3-1 loss.
Minnesota didn't get its first hit until Justin Morneau led off the eighth inning with double and Josh Willingham would prevent the shutout with an RBI double. The Twins, though, plated just five runs in the three-game series.
"We left spring training swinging really well, it just didn't carry here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We just have to go home now and see if we can get some momentum going at home."
Anthony Swarzak got the start for Minnesota in place of Liam Hendriks, who was scratched due to food poisoning, and gave up one run on four hits in five innings.
With Scott Baker beginning the season on the disabled list due to right elbow tendinitis, Nick Blackburn will start today's opener after making 26 appearances last season. The righty went 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA, but following offseason surgery on his forearm posted a 2.12 ERA in four starts this past spring.
Blackburn, 30, is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in six career starts versus the Angels.
The Angels own six of nine against the Twins a season ago, taking two of three in Minnesota from May 27-29.
04/09 10:39:22 ET