A pair of first-place teams will meet for a two-game series starting Tuesday when the Minnesota Twins visit the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers enter on an eight-game winning streak to match a season high, and they are 30-5 since a loss on June 28. After a three-game sweep of the new-look Padres over the weekend, Los Angeles holds a 15 1/2-game edge on second-place San Diego.
Los Angeles has roared past the New York Yankees to hold the best record in the majors, 75-33.
“We treated (the Padres) as any other series, and we came out here and played the baseball we’ve been playing for two months now,” said the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman, who had a pair of RBI singles on Sunday in a 4-0 win. “Whoever we’re playing, we’re gonna play our game of baseball. And our game of baseball is pretty good.”
The Twins sit atop the American League Central with the Cleveland Guardians one game back and the Chicago White Sox two games back. But at 57-51, Minnesota has a lower winning percentage than the Padres.
The Dodgers and Twins will be meeting for the second time this season. The teams’ April series was best known for Clayton Kershaw being removed from the finale after throwing seven perfect innings during his season debut. The Los Angeles bullpen squandered the bid at history, but the Dodgers won both contests.
The Dodgers will send left-hander Julio Urias (11-6, 2.57 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday. After a slow start to the season, Urias is 8-0 with a 2.28 ERA over his last nine starts going back to June 18. In seven major league seasons, he has never faced the Twins.
Los Angeles received two home runs from No. 9 hitter Cody Bellinger on Sunday, while Freeman increased his major-league-leading hit total to 136. The Dodgers’ No. 2 hitter, Trea Turner, is second in hits with 134, while leadoff man Mookie Betts scored five times in the series against the Padres and is second in baseball with 79 runs.
The Twins enter the series with an edge about them after a 10th-inning play at home plate was overturned on replay Sunday, ultimately costing them the contest.
Minnesota catcher Gary Sanchez was ruled to have blocked the plate illegally despite making a successful tag on the Toronto Blue Jays’ Whit Merrifield. The run was allowed to score and was the difference in a 3-2 Minnesota defeat.
“That’s beyond embarrassing for our game, for all the players out there, on both sides of the field, working their (rear end) off, for the entire game,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, who was ejected. “It’s completely unacceptable. …
“It’s one of the worst moments I think we’ve seen of umpiring in any game I’ve ever been a part of in baseball, and I think it was pathetic.”
The Twins split the four-game series against the Blue Jays and went 4-3 on a homestand that also included a set against the Detroit Tigers.
The Twins are expected to send right-hander Joe Ryan (8-4, 3.67 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday. After he was crushed by the Padres on July 29, giving up 10 runs in 4 2/3 innings, Ryan rebounded on Wednesday against the Tigers to yield just one run in five innings while striking out nine.
Ryan, who has never faced the Dodgers, has given up two earned runs or fewer in five of his past six outings.
–Field Level Media