Current record: 6-18
Last game: vs. Angels. Minnesota was no-hit with a beautiful performance by Jered Weaver, who struck out nine batters and came one at-bat away from a perfect game after allowing a walk to Josh Willingham.
In 24 games, the Twins were swept in four of five series losses. They are currently nursing a 3-game losing streak.
Last series against Seattle: September 20 – 22, 2011. Seattle took the series 2-1 with two late-inning rallies by Alex Liddi, Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley, and Ichiro. Minnesota grabbed a 3-2 win in the last game, when Steve Delabar handed a walk-off double to DH Rene Tosoni.
Over the past five years, the Twins hold a 16-18 overall record against the Mariners, split 9-7 at Target Field and 7-11 at Safeco.
Toughest player: Josh Willingham vs. Jesus Montero. Willingham carries 5 home runs in 21 games, batting .333/.432/.653 in 88 PA. Not to discredit Kyle Seager’s pair of home runs yesterday, but Montero leads the lineup (along with Michael Saunders) in homers, picking up a .294/.303/.459 slash line in 22 games and 89 PA. As mentioned on the Bob and Groz Show last week, Montero’s offense appears to pick up when he starts behind the plate, so I expect his performance will only improve from here.
Weakest link: Trevor Plouffe vs. Chone Figgins. In 13 games, Plouffe is batting .121/.275/.242, with a scoreless streak of 10 at-bats in the past three games. Chone is inching ahead with his 0-for-18 streak, picking up 0 walks and 7 strikeouts in four starts.
Expected result: Normally, I’m wary of predicting an easy win against a team who has performed this poorly; every case of bad luck has to end eventually. However, what do you do when both teams are skidding with multiple losses? As disheartening as a no-hitter can be, I’ll put my money on the Mariners taking this series. Their record is stronger in Safeco Field, they have a 13-homer streak to maintain, and Seattle fans are due for a break after watching four consecutive losses at the Safe last month. Do it for the fans, Mariners.