Brewers-Twins Preview

The Milwaukee Brewers didn’t have much fun facing the team with

the AL’s best record this week, but perhaps another series with the

Minnesota Twins will be more to their liking.

The Brewers try to bounce back from being swept in the Bronx on

Friday by visiting the Twins, whom they’ve beaten seven consecutive

times after last weekend’s sweep at Miller Park.

Milwaukee (44-38) went into New York feeling good about itself

after outscoring Minnesota 21-6 in three victories, but that

offense disappeared against the Yankees.

The Brewers entered that series with the NL lead in home runs

after going deep five times against the Twins, but they couldn’t

hit one out of Yankee Stadium. Of Milwaukee’s 25 hits in the Bronx,

22 were singles – including all five in Thursday’s 5-0 loss.

“It’s not that if we played 40 games against them, they would

beat us in 35 of them,” manager Ron Roenicke told the Brewers’

official website. “But in this series? There’s no doubt about it,

they were better.

“You can look at three games, but it doesn’t tell you the whole

story.”

The Twins (34-45) have to hope Roenicke’s words hold true at

Target Field, and given Milwaukee’s precipitous drop in success on

the road, they might. The Brewers are 29-11 at Miller Park – their

.725 home winning percentage is the best in the majors – but

they’re a dreadful 15-27 on the road.

Roenicke’s club is batting .282 and has a 3.60 ERA at home as

opposed to a .233 average and 4.27 ERA on the road. Perhaps most

concerning is a defense that’s made 30 errors away from Miller Park

– including 13 in 15 road games in June.

“I could see the offense – I don’t understand the pitching,”

Roenicke said. “I’d rather pitch on the road than at home,

probably, with the way the ball carries (at home). I don’t

understand those numbers, and I don’t understand the defensive

numbers.”

After leaving Milwaukee losers of five straight, the Twins’

misery was extended with a 15-0 shellacking from the Dodgers on

Monday. But Minnesota responded with a 6-4 win Tuesday, then got a

fantastic start from Scott Baker in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory.

The Twins finished June 10-2 at Target Field despite being

outhit 111-97 – though Monday’s loss certainly had plenty to do

with that.

“Winning two out of three after getting blown out in the first

one is a nice way to come back,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

“Proud of the guys, so we’ll go from there.”

Friday’s pitching matchup offers a rematch of Saturday’s game in

Milwaukee, where Yovani Gallardo (9-4, 3.92 ERA) thoroughly

outpitched Francisco Liriano. Gallardo held the Twins to one run

over seven innings, while Liriano (4-7, 4.98) was rocked for six

runs and eight hits over 3 2-3 innings in the 11-1 loss.

Liriano fell to 3-2 with a 4.05 ERA in five starts against the

Brewers, and facing them at home may not help. His 7.62 ERA at

Target Field is more than four runs higher than his road ERA.

The left-hander has handled Milwaukee’s two biggest bats well,

however. Prince Fielder is 1 for 13 against him, while Ryan Braun –

who has the majors’ longest active hitting streak at 20 games – is

1 for 6 with three strikeouts.

Gallardo, meanwhile, is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in his past two

starts versus Minnesota. Both of those were at home, though.

“You can’t ever worry about the series before – you just have to

keep moving forward,” the right-hander said. “We know that before

they played us, they won so many games.”