Angels-Twins Preview

Joe Mauer has helped put the Minnesota Twins in position for

their first three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in four

seasons.

Now the question is whether Vance Worley can get anybody

out.

No starting pitcher in the majors has a higher opponent batting

average than Worley, who takes the mound for the Twins in Wednesday

night’s home finale after turning in the shortest start of his

career in his last one.

Mauer is 8 for 10 with six RBIs in this series, posting

consecutive games with at least four hits for the first time since

June 26-27, 2006, against the Dodgers. He’s 18 for 39 (.462) during

a nine-game hitting streak.

“I’ve seen him hit his whole career,” manager Ron Gardenhire

said after Tuesday’s 8-6 victory. “We’ve seen him do this. I keep

saying it’s incredible, and it is. At this level, to keep swinging

and get those hits and rack them up like that, it is incredible.

That will never change. He’s just an amazing hitter.”

Mauer is a big reason why the Twins (6-7) have come alive for 16

runs and 27 hits in this series. They can sweep Los Angeles (4-10)

for the first time since April 17-19, 2009.

The Angels, however, have to like their chances against Worley

(0-2, 10.50 ERA), who is allowing opponents to bat .410 against

him. That’s the worst mark among qualifying pitchers and his ERA is

also last in the majors.

The right-hander was charged with nine runs over one-plus inning

in Friday’s 16-5 home loss to the Mets. He fell to 0-5 with an 8.00

ERA over eight outings dating to last season with Philadelphia.

“It’s frustrating,” Worley told the Twins’ official website.

“Nobody likes to have that happen to them.”

Worley has never faced the Angels, although Albert Pujols is 3

for 3 against him. Pujols is 7 for 36 in eight career games at

Target Field.

These teams’ starters have the worst ERAs in baseball. Minnesota

is at 5.98 while Los Angeles is last at 6.07 – 10.13 in this

series.

“Everybody has their own unique set of circumstances and they’re

going to have to make adjustments according to their own game on

what they need to do,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said about his

rotation. “I think we have some really good pitchers that just

aren’t throwing the ball well right now.”

Tommy Hanson (1-1, 6.55) will try to become the first Angels

starter to last at least seven innings when he faces Mauer and

Minnesota for the first time. Hanson gave up all five runs over

five innings in last Friday’s 5-0 defeat to Houston.

The Twins hitter with the most experience against Hanson is Josh

Willingham, who is 1 for 12 but has missed both games of this

series with an illness.

Minnesota outfielder Wilkin Ramirez left Tuesday’s game after

being hit in the head with a pickoff attempt. Ramirez is listed as

day to day.

The Twins are already down another outfielder. Center fielder

Darin Mastroianni was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday

with a stress reaction in his left ankle.

Angels outfielder Mike Trout, meanwhile, is 8 for 16 over his

last four games.