MINNESOTA TWINS (78-74)
at DETROIT TIGERS (62-90)
First pitch: Thursday, 7:10 p.m. ET
Line: N/A, Total: N/A
The Tigers will be hoping to spoil the Twins’ chances of making the playoffs with a home victory on Thursday.
The Twins were just swept by the Yankees, so they have some work to do before actually getting themselves into the AL Wild Card Game. Minnesota seemed like a near-lock to make it at the beginning of last week, but things are getting interesting now. The Angels are making a strong push, which means the Twins desperately need to win this series against a Tigers team that has absolutely nothing to play for. Detroit will, however, be trying to play the role of spoiler here. The Tigers can’t possibly want to see a division foe make it to the postseason, so expect them to at least do their best to care here. The starters in this Thursday matchup are going to be LHP Adalberto Mejia (4-6, 4.62 ERA, 77 K) for Minnesota and RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-12, 6.18 ERA, 96 K) for Detroit. Both guys have not been very good this season, so it wouldn’t be surprising if this game were very high scoring.
Mejia is going to need to pitch well for the Twins on Thursday, as the Angels are only 1.5 games behind in the standings right now. Every game is now extremely important for Minnesota, so the lefty must show up here. Mejia has not pitched well in recent weeks, as he has only pitched a total of 10.0 innings over his past three starts. The Twins need Mejia to work a lot deeper into this one, as they can’t afford to be using all of their bullpen arms only because of him. One good sign for Mejia is that he pitched pretty well the last time he faced the Tigers. That was on Jul. 23, when he allowed only one earned run in 4.1 innings of work. If he were to allow one or two earned in five innings then he will have done his job on Thursday. As for Minnesota’s offense in this one, OF Eddie Rosario and 3B Miguel Sano are two guys that might be able to contribute. The two of them are a combined 7-for-23 with two doubles, two homers, and seven RBI against Zimmermann in their careers.
The Tigers are sending Jordan Zimmermann to the mound on Thursday and the righty has been a disaster since signing a huge contract with Detroit. Zimmermann’s ERA was under 4.00 for his final five years with the Nationals, but he had a 4.87 ERA last year and has a 6.18 ERA this year. The Tigers are hoping that he can pitch well here to give himself momentum heading into 2018, but it’s likely they’ll never get the pitcher back that they wanted from Washington. Still, if Zimmermann can turn in a quality start in this one then the team will have a shot to win. Detroit still has some serious talent offensively, as 3B Nicholas Castellanos, 1B Miguel Cabrera and 2B Ian Kinsler are all guys that can make things happen at the plate. Castellanos is the best of the bunch now, and he’s definitely a guy to keep an eye on here.