The Los Angeles Angels make the final stop of a four-city, 11-game road trip that will cover more than 6,200 miles on Monday night when they open a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.
The trip started with two losses to the Houston Astros in Monterrey, Mexico, followed by a three-game set in Detroit and then a weekend series at Baltimore. The Angels won two of three from the Tigers and Orioles to improve to 4-4 on the road trip.
Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (3-3, 4.70 ERA) will start Monday night’s contest with the Twins, who will counter with right-hander Jose Berrios (6-1, 2.53).
Skaggs is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two career starts against Minnesota with 15 strikeouts in 13 innings. He will try to bounce back from a 10-3 loss at Detroit on Wednesday that saw him surrender eight runs (seven earned) in 4 2/3 innings.
Berrios, who is 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two career starts against the Angels, has won a career-best five consecutive starts, including a 3-0 victory at Toronto on Tuesday in which he pitched seven shutout innings and allowed four hits while striking out five.
Berrios said one of his goals this season is to win 20 games. He has 51 strikeouts compared with eight walks in 53 1/3 innings.
“I know I have big goals,” Berrios told MLB.com. “I know I have to work. Every day, every start is God’s reason for me, so the way I was pitching (at Toronto), that’s the way I want to keep pitching for the rest of the season.”
The Twins, who are 11-2 after a defeat this season, come in off a 5-3 loss to Detroit on Sunday and could be without designated hitter Nelson Cruz. He left the contest in the seventh inning with a sore left wrist.
Cruz is batting .270 with seven home runs, nine doubles and 22 RBIs in 35 games. He said he was going to have an MRI done on Monday to see what was causing the pain.
“Hopefully it’s nothing bad,” Cruz said. “It’s something I’ve been dealing with. Today, it was more painful.”
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli emphasized the need for patience.
“Right now, we’re kind of in a precautionary stage,” Baldelli said.
“Like, let’s make sure we know what we’re dealing with and get him checked out and looked at. But I would say these are the things you want to be careful with. You want to make sure you cover all the bases, check on him every possible way, make sure we get him looked at.”
The Angels rested their DH, Shohei Ohtani, in Sunday’s 5-1 loss at Baltimore. Ohtani is just 4-for-21 (.190) with three RBIs since coming off the injured list following Tommy John surgery last fall.
“It was planned,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus told MLB.com. “I told him two days ago.”
The good news for Los Angeles, which fell to 4-11 against left-handed starters with Sunday’s loss to John Means and the Orioles, is that they won’t face a lefty in the series with the Twins. The bad news is that Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi, who has a 20 inning-shutout streak, all come into the series off impressive starts.
“I can’t explain it,” Ausmus said of his team’s struggles with left-handers. “It (also) happened last year. I’m hoping it’s just noise and it’ll turn around.”
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