Expert Cappers Picks
Major League Baseball
Preview
Tampa Bay at Minnesota
When: 8:10 PM ET, Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Minnesota Twins had Monday off in advance of their three-game series with the visiting Tampa Bay Rays that starts Tuesday, but it wasn't a reward for leading the American League Central by a wide margin. “I think it’s good for us to be at home and not come to the ball field,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters after his club fell to 3-5 in its last eight games with Sunday's loss at Kansas City. “Physically and mentally, I think our guys deserve it.”

Minnesota boasts the most potent offense in baseball at 5.7 runs per contest while leading the majors with 147 home runs but was held to one run twice over the weekend by the Royals while Tampa Bay owns the best ERA in the AL at 3.20. The Rays lead the AL wild-card race, but are 2-5 on their 10-game road trip and 4-9 in the last 13 contests. Tampa Bay's Blake Snell on Tuesday will continue to seek the consistent form that landed him the 2018 American League Cy Young Award and opposes Kyle Gibson in a matchup of pitchers coming off their worst outings of the season. “I’d like to see him attack better with strikes,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters about Snell. “I’m just not going to get into the second-guessing of the pitches, and I understand why it’s talked about. You go back and look at September for him and his pitch distribution was the same and obviously nobody said anything during that period. I think it’s more commanding whatever pitch he chooses to throw.”

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FS Sun (Tampa Bay), FS North (Minnesota)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays LH Blake Snell (4-6, 4.40 ERA) vs. Twins RH Kyle Gibson (7-4, 4.18)

Snell allowed six runs, two hits and four walks while recording only one out in a 12-1 loss at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. The 26-year-old Washington native, who has 101 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings this season, has yielded five or more runs four times in 2019 after enduring only two such contests last year. Minnesota's Jorge Polanco is 3-for-6 with two doubles and an RBI against Snell, who is 1-1 with a 5.12 ERA in four starts versus the Twins - 1-1, 3.60 in two turns last season.

Gibson permitted six runs, seven hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings of a 9-4 loss to Boston on Wednesday. The 31-year-old Indiana native had allowed no more than one run in three of his previous four starts, including a 6-2 victory at Tampa Bay when he yielded an unearned run and six hits in five innings to make him 3-5 with a 5.22 ERA in nine starts against the Rays. Gibson has fared well against Tampa Bay's Avisail Garcia (5-for-25, six strikeouts) but not so much versus Kevin Kiermaier (6-for-14, three doubles).

WALK-OFFS

1. Rays OF Austin Meadows (.304) snapped a 6-for-48 funk by going 2-for-4 in Sunday's 8-2 victory at Oakland and drove in three runs for his first RBIs in 16 games.

2. Polanco, who has reached base in 36 straight contests, owns an eight-game hitting streak during which his average dropped nine points to .326.

3. Tampa Bay is winless in four straight series (0-2-2) for the first time since 2017.

PREDICTION: Twins 3, Rays 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Tampa Bay 45-33 W1 20-18 25-15 15-14 13-8 8-7 9-4
Minnesota 50-27 L1 24-13 26-14 15-8 18-9 14-6 3-4
Last Meeting
Tampa Bay Minnesota
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
6/2/19 MIN 9 TB 7 .265 1 .724 .353 1 .969
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Tampa Bay W. Adames .353 6 .706
Minnesota B. Buxton .385 5 1.275
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Tampa Bay C. Arroyo 2 5 5
Minnesota B. Buxton 1 4 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Tampa Bay 5.50 .271 33
Minnesota 6.17 .296 37
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Tampa Bay A. Meadows .304 70 .930
Minnesota J. Polanco .326 98 .925
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Tampa Bay B. Lowe 15 38 46
Minnesota E. Rosario 20 49 57
Pitching ERA Avg K
Tampa Bay 3.24 .259 726
Minnesota 3.97 .271 660