All-Star right-hander Jake Odorizzi goes after a career-high-tying 11th win Tuesday night when the visiting Minnesota Twins attempt to cool down the hot Oakland Athletics in the opener of a three-game series.
The Twins (53-30) will take the field Tuesday with the far greater record, but it’s the A’s (46-39) who are in the better form as they seek to improve on a three-game winning streak in the first meeting of the season between the clubs.
The playoff hopefuls will go head-to-head seven times in the next 20 days, with Minnesota hosting a four-game set later this month.
Odorizzi (10-3, 2.73 ERA) will be making his fourth career start in Oakland in hopes that it goes as well as the first three. His last two road outings against the A’s have resulted in eight innings of shutout pitching in 2016 and seven innings of one-hit ball in 2017.
He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his three Oakland starts, and 1-3 with a 2.95 ERA against the A’s overall in six outings. The 1.29 ERA is his lowest at any site at which he’s started three or more games.
One batter he has owned over the years has been fellow All-Star Matt Chapman, who has gone 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
Odorizzi has not been at his best in recent performances, having allowed 11 runs and 19 hits over 15 1/3 innings in his past three starts. He went 1-1 in those games.
The 29-year-old is currently tied with Justin Verlander and Lance Lynn with 10 wins. They trail American League leader Lucas Giolito by one.
Giolito earned his 11th victory at the Twins’ expense Sunday, 4-3.
Odorizzi won 11 games once previously in his career, in 2014 with the Tampa Bay Rays while going 11-13.
He will be joined at the All-Star Game in Cleveland next week by teammate Jorge Polanco, a twosome that Twins manager Rocco Baldelli believes shortchanges his fast-starting team.
“I truly, deep down know we have more than two guys that deserve to be All-Stars,” he said Sunday. “If it’s done by performance and what guys did for a team that played really well in the first half and put up the numbers … if it was based on that, we would have more than two.”
Oakland’s only player headed to Cleveland, Chapman had a similar reaction from an A’s perspective when the All-Stars were announced Sunday.
“I wish some of my teammates would come with me,” he said, “but I’m still going to really enjoy the moment.”
Odorizzi will be opposed in the series opener by A’s right-hander Daniel Mengden (2-1, 4.03 ERA), who responded to a promotion from the minors with six shutout innings in a 2-0 win at St. Louis last Wednesday.
The 26-year-old has never faced the Twins, but he has a strong record against first-time opponents, having compiled a 7-3 mark against teams he’s faced just once in his career.
The A’s won five of six on the road against the Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels last week, and they have gone 10-3 since sitting at 36-36 on June 16.
The Twins, on the other hand, were 47-22 on June 15 before losing eight of 14.
–Field Level Media
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