The Twins (15-17) have scored at least four runs in their past nine games, helping them pull within a game of the Cleveland Indians for first place in the American League Central.
“Now that the weather’s gotten warm, we’re feeling pretty good at the plate,” Minnesota right fielder Robbie Grossman told reporters after a 7-1 victory at the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday. “Every part of this team has it going now.”
The Angels (22-14) are coming off a two-game split at the Colorado Rockies.
Los Angeles ended Colorado’s six-game winning streak with an 8-0 win on Wednesday afternoon. Angels third baseman Zack Cozart replaced Ian Kinsler in the leadoff spot and went 2-for-4 with a double and home run.
The Rockies and Twins are two of the five teams that have entered a series against the Angels this season riding a winning streak of at least four games.
The Yankees had a six-game winning streak and the Boston Red Sox had won four in a row when they came to Anaheim last month. The defending World Series champion Houston Astros had won six straight before the Angels came to town and won two of three April 23-25.
In the series opener against Minnesota, the Angels are scheduled to face right-hander Jose Berrios (3-3, 3.98 ERA) for the second time in his three-year career.
Berrios pitched six innings at Angel Stadium on June 4, allowing two runs and six hits in the 3-2 win, part of his 7-1 start to last season.
Berrios has never faced Angels sluggers Mike Trout or Albert Pujols. Kinsler has seen Berrios the most of any current member of Los Angeles, and he’s 2-for-9 in his career with a home run.
Berrios gave up a two-run homer in the first inning of his most recent start, the eighth straight inning he allowed at least one run, but bounced back and allowed two runs over the next five innings to earn the win in a 6-4 victory against the Chicago White Sox.
Richards is coming off his best outing of the season, throwing 6 2/3 shutout innings in a 5-0 win at the Seattle Mariners on Friday. That followed his worst start of the season, when he gave up nine runs (five earned) and five hits in 1 2/3 innings of an 11-1 loss against the visiting Yankees on April 28.
Richards told reporters after his most recent start that he’s been working closely with pitching coach Charles Nagy.
“It’s rhythm and tempo and mechanical stuff,” he said. “My mindset is still there. I’m trying to attack guys and fill up the zone and get ahead in counts. Nothing’s changed as far as that goes, just really kind of finding a happy medium with my tempo going toward the plate to help me be a little more consistent.”
Richards is 2-1 in his career against the Twins with a 2.61 ERA. He last faced them on April 15, 2016, allowing two runs and four hits in six innings of a 5-4 loss in which he did not receive a decision.