MLB Twins look for spark in series against slumping Brewers

The Minnesota Twins open a six-game homestand when they face the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday evening.

Minnesota is coming off a 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday. That concluded a 3-3 road trip for the Twins, who are .500 since June 1 and are looking for a spark in the final week before the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, the Brewers are coming off a disappointing homestand in which they won only two of six games. They hope to avoid a three-game skid after dropping back-to-back games against the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend.

In their last five games, the Brewers have been outscored 25-17.

“We have traffic every game, even the games we don’t really score,” Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich said. “It’s because we’re missing the big hit, that two-out hit, the one that breaks it open with the bases loaded. We just haven’t been able to get it across. I don’t know how you really explain it. Sometimes it just works that way. There are some tough losses sometimes.”

Milwaukee will try to jump-start its offense against Twins right-hander Josh Winder (4-2, 3.12 ERA), who is set to make his 10th appearance and sixth start of his rookie campaign. The 25-year-old has been particularly sharp as of late, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.64 ERA (two runs in 11 innings) over his past two starts.

As he has split time between the bullpen and starting rotation, Winder has impressed the Twins’ coaching staff.

“I think he’s going to be a big contributor for us going forward,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I could see him fitting in, in a few different ways. But the most important part of this is just to keep Winder going, and keep him in a good place, because we are going to need him in a big way.”

This will be Winder’s first meeting with the Brewers, as well as his first interleague start. He made one interleague appearance out of the bullpen, when he allowed one run in one inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Milwaukee will counter with another rookie right-hander in 29-year-old Jason Alexander (2-1, 4.75). This will be Alexander’s ninth appearance and seventh start.

In his most recent outing, Alexander was roughed up for seven runs (six earned) in 5 1/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs. He walked two and struck out two.

Alexander never has faced the Twins. This also will be his first interleague start, following one interleague relief appearance in which he allowed two runs (one earned) in two-thirds of an inning against the Tampa Bay Rays.

This will be the first home game for Twins players Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez since they were named All-Stars. Buxton has a team-high 23 homers and 42 RBIs in 67 games, and Arraez is hitting .348 to lead the major leagues.

“Watching (Buxton) just go through everything he went through and all the bad luck and all the hit-by-pitches and injuries, to finally be where he deserves to be, named an All-Star, it’s pretty awesome,” teammate Carlos Correa said. “And then (Arraez) … nobody believed he could be a big leaguer, talked him down. And he kept fighting. He kept putting in the work.

“And now he’s also an All-Star.”

–Field Level Media

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