MLB Game Preview - Twins v Tigers

 
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11
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Minnesota0 0 2 1 3 5 0 0 0 11110
Detroit1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 590
5
  W: P. Hughes (2-0)   L: J. Zimmermann (1-1)   S: J. Haley (1)
10:10 AM PT11:10 AM MT12:10 PM CT1:10 PM ET13:10 ET17:10 GMT1:10 10:10 AM MST12:10 PM EST12:40 PM VEN21:10 UAE12:10 PM CT, April 13, 2017
Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan  Attendance: 22,573

Twins' Hughes, Tigers' Zimmermann look to continue solid starts

According to STATS
According to STATS

Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers

  1. The Twins are off to a 5-1 start, their best start since 2010, which was the last time the Twins made the playoffs. Minnesota has a +17 run differential (30-13), tied for the best run differential in the major leagues (LA Dodgers). Minnesota has allowed one run or fewer in four of its first six games.
  2. The Tigers are 4-2, despite hitting just .224 as a team (11th in the American League). The Tigers are one of three MLB teams that have hit at least one home run in every game played this season (also Cincinnati -- 7 games and Texas -- 6).
  3. Detroit won 15 of the 19 meetings with Minnesota last season. It was the Tigers best single-season record against the Twins since they arrived in Minnesota in 1961. However, all four wins for the Twins last season against the Tigers came at Comerica Park.
  4. Miguel Sano has a team-leading eight runs batted in for the Twins. Since 1975, Sano is the fifth Twin with 8+ RBI through their first six team games of the season: 1987 Kirby Puckett -- 8, 1989 Kent Hrbek -- 9, 1993 Dave Winfield -- 9 and 2014 Chris Colabello -- 11.
  5. Miguel Cabrera is 2-for-21 (.095) with zero extra-base hits in the first six games. Among players with 25+ plate appearances (216 MLB players), Cabrera is one of just three still looking for his first run scored and his first run batted in. The other two players are Jose Altuve of Houston (6-for-32, .188) and Minnesota's Byron Buxton (2-for-26, .077).
  6. Hector Santiago beat the Kansas City Royals in his first start of the season (5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K). Dating back to last season, Santiago is 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in his last seven starts against AL Central opponents.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 4/11/2017 thru 4/13/2017

DETROIT -- Phil Hughes and Jordan Zimmermann sparkled in their season debuts following injury-marred 2016 campaigns.

The veteran right-handers will try to build off those performances when the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers complete a three-game series at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon.

Hughes (1-0) held the Chicago White Sox to one run on five hits in six innings, carrying Minnesota to a 3-1 victory on Friday. He didn't walk a batter and held the White Sox scoreless after the first inning.

"I was kind of reeling a little bit but I was able to settle down and make some pitches," he said on Wednesday. "Felt pretty good after not being out there for nine months or whatever it was. It was pretty encouraging but it's one of a lot."

Hughes appeared in just 12 games for the Twins (5-3) last season and finished 1-7 with a 5.95 ERA. He sustained a broken left leg when struck by a line drive in June, then underwent season-ending surgery the following month for an unrelated issue. He had his first rib removed to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome.

Hughes recovered by the time the season ended and was able to go through his normal offseason routine. The results started to show in the latter stages of spring training.

"He seemed to get more confidence in his pitches as he got near the end of camp and found a way to get deep into the game in his first outing, which was a positive," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "I think we'll see a different guy with the fact that he's throwing the changeup a lot more than he used to and he's still got the curveball and cutter to go with it."

The Tigers (6-2), who won the first two games of the series, have seen plenty of Hughes over the years. He has pitched against them 20 times, including 18 starts, and is 8-9 with a 4.43 ERA.

Zimmermann (1-0) was nearly flawless last April, when he was named the American League's Pitcher of the Month, but his season soon nosedived. He initially sustained a groin injury, then battled a neck issue. He pitched just 9 2/3 innings after June 30.

In his first start this season on Saturday, Zimmermann held the Boston Red Sox to one run on four hits over six innings.

"With all the stuff that happened last year and all the stuff I did this offseason, I was happy to get off to a good start and feel good all spring," he said. "So far, I'm feeling great, so hopefully that continues."

Zimmermann, who is 3-0 with a 3.43 ERA in three career starts against the Twins, mainly relied on his fastball and changeup against Boston.

"The breaking pitches were the only thing I couldn't get a feel for," he said. "Cold weather might have had something to do with it. I'm expecting both breaking pitches (slider, curveball) to be there (Thursday) and hopefully, the changeup is as good as it was the first start."

Updated April 12, 2017

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