The Los Angeles Angels haven’t had much success against the Minnesota Twins the past three seasons, and they will try to find a solution Saturday night in the third game of their four-game series at Angel Stadium.
The Angels (23-15) were three outs from beating the Twins on Friday night, but Minnesota rallied for three runs and a 5-4 victory.
“We don’t quit,” Twins catcher Bobby Wilson, who drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly, told Fox Sports North. “We keep putting together good at-bats. We keep battling, chipping away when we get behind.”
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The Twins (16-18) are 10-5 against the Angels over the past three seasons.
The Angels missed a chance to move a game ahead of the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West, but they are in a much better position than they were at this point last year. After 38 games last season, the Angels were already eight games behind the Astros, who went on to win the World Series.
Justin Upton continues to be on a roll for Los Angeles. He homered for the fourth straight game on Friday night, and has six home runs in May.
Upton’s month began with frustration on May 1, as the Baltimore Orioles intentionally walked Mike Trout three times in front of Upton, and each time he failed to deliver. He finally came through in the bottom of the ninth after Trout was unintentionally walked. Upton then homered the following night in another win against Baltimore.
Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun, who hit .163 in April, had two hits on Friday night for his first multi-hit game since April 11.
“Kole’s feeling much more comfortable the last couple days,” manager Mike Scioscia told reporters after Friday’s loss. “It’s good to get Kole feeling comfortable in the box. That lenghtens our lineup.”
Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-1, 3.49 ERA) is the starter for Saturday’s game, and he will try to continue his improvement over the past two seasons, when he finished with matching 5.07 ERAs.
Gibson has seen his swing-and-miss rate improve significantly this season. Opposing batters have also made solid contact much less often.
According to MLB.com’s Baseball Savant, opposing batters are making barrel contact 5 percent of the time off Gibson, compared to 6.9 percent last season.
Gibson also has 44 strikeouts in seven starts this season. He needed at least 11 starts to accumulate 44 strikeouts in each of the previous five years.
Gibson has made eight starts against the Angels in his career and is 2-2 with a 5.32 ERA.
He recorded both victories last season, throwing 5 2/3 innings in an 11-5 win in Anaheim on June 2, and 6 2/3 innings in a 5-4 win in Minnesota on July 4. Gibson allowed two earned runs in both games.
Trout, the two-time AL MVP who was selected three spots behind Gibson late in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft, is 4-for-11 in his career off the right-hander with a home run.
Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.42 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Angels after spending the past 10 days on the disabled list because of inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
Tropeano has made two appearances against the Twins in his career. In his only start against Minnesota, he was matched against Gibson in Minnesota on April 16, 2016. Tropeano departed with a 2-1 lead after 5 1/3 innings in that game, but the Twins rallied to win 3-2 in 12 innings.
Tropeano also threw an inning of scoreless relief in Minnesota late in the 2015 season.