Preview: Twins vs. Rangers
Bartolo Colon goes for a spot in the history books Sunday afternoon when he takes the mound at Target Field where the Texas Rangers will face the Minnesota Twins.
Colon (4-4, 4.91) snapped a tie with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal and became the winningest pitcher from the Dominican Republic earlier this week and should he earn a win Sunday, he would tie Nicaragua native Dennis Martinez for the most by a pitcher from any Latin American country.
“Now that I’ve won the 244, I see that it’s close to Dennis Martinez, but with health and enough time, I’m ready to be able to pass him and be the first Latin with more wins,” Colon said through a translator after snapping out of a five-game funk against the Kansas Royals on Monday “I feel happy, of course, to pass a Hall of Famer, the first Dominican in the Hall of Fame.”
Colon is 11-8 with a 3.78 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) against the Twins. Last season he was 5-6 with a 5.18 ERA in 15 starts for the Twins.
Colon is pitching in Minnesota as a visitor for the first time since July 16, 2005 at the Metrodome when he pitched the Los Angeles Angels.
The Latin American record is a big deal for not just the 45-year-old Colon but also for his teammates.
“They’ve wanted to get this win for him for some time now,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “It’s just incredible to watch. He’s such a humble guy. No real fanfare whatsoever. Kind of just a great humility.”
The Rangers have been one of baseball’s hottest teams of late.
They stretched their season-best winning streak to seven games Saturday as Adrian Beltre and Robinson Chirinos homered in 9-6 victory. With a win Sunday, the Rangers would clinch their second consecutive series sweep — and their second of the season, overall.
They may need to do it without first baseman Joey Gallo, who left the game in the third inning after stretching a double. Banister said Gallo had been “battling some soreness” the last few days.
“We played him at first base to try to alleviate some of that today, but it seemed to come back and get him a little bit,” Bannister said. “We’ll reassess him and see where he is tomorrow.”
The Twins have dropped three straight games after Eddie Rosario homered and drove in four runs Saturday.
Right-hander Jose Berrios (7-5, 3.38) will try to keep Texas’ brooms at bay.
Berrios earned a no-decision but was magnificent in his last outing, holding the Red Sox to a run on five hits while striking out six over 6 1/3 innings Tuesday.
He’s only allowed one run in each of his last two outings and gave up two in the start before that. Over his last seven outings, Berrios is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA.
Berrios won his only start against Texas, allowing five runs and five innings in a 6-5 victory Aug. 6. He also is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in four starts against teams from the AL West.
Should Berrios struggle Sunday, the Twins will have a fresh arm in the bullpen. Minnesota’s bullpen covered 7 1/3 innings Saturday after Jake Odorizzi recorded just five outs.
The team plans to summon right-hander Alan Busenitz from Triple-A Rochester, where he has a 1.27 ERA in 17 outings this season.
To make room for Busenitz on the roster, Minnesota optioned 23-year-old starter Fernando Romero to Triple-A. The right-hander is 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA and has a 7.54 ERA over his last five starts.
“His starts, while they haven’t been horrific or horrendous or any of those type of things, it just looks like it’s been a little more laborious for him,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Some of the things that a young pitcher goes through, I think it’s time to reset him. There’s obviously some things maybe that I don’t want to be too transparent about that I think he needs to work on. I’m sure he’ll get back to work.”