Although Minnesota’s much-maligned rotation has improved this month, former San Diego hurler Kevin Correia has continued to struggle for the Twins.
Minnesota goes for its sixth win in eight games Tuesday night behind Correia, who will face a suddenly potent Padres offense in the opener of a two-game set at Petco Park.
The Twins’ rotation hasn’t resembled the group that had a major league-worst 6.08 ERA over the first month of the season, posting a respectable 3.97 mark in 18 May starts.
Minnesota starters have allowed just seven runs over 24 innings in the last four games following Sunday’s 6-2 home loss to Seattle that snapped a three-game win streak.
Now Correia (1-5, 6.80 ERA) will try to find his rhythm after posting a 7.99 ERA while taking the loss in four of his last five starts. He allowed five runs without fanning a batter over four innings of a 9-4 home loss to Boston on Wednesday.
"It’s kinda strange," the right-hander told the team’s official website. "I don’t know why things are going the way they are right now."
Correia, who went 22-21 with a 4.54 ERA for San Diego from 2009-10, is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts against his former team. Will Venable is 4 for 8 with a triple in the matchup since 2011, while Seth Smith has gone 3 for 6.
Though they rank last in the majors with a .222 average and 3.1 runs per game, the Padres (21-24) have shown some life offensively with a .256 average and 5.2 runs per game while winning six of their last nine.
Smith, Everth Cabrera and Rene Rivera homered Sunday before Colorado’s Justin Morneau delivered a walk-off, two-run shot in the 10th inning of an 8-6 loss at Coors Field.
Smith, who has gone deep in his last two games, is batting .478 with eight doubles and 10 RBIs over his last 14. He’s also hitting .371 in his last 12 versus Minnesota (21-21).
The Padres will try to continue their recent production for Ian Kennedy (2-5, 3.60), who looks to bounce back after allowing a season-high five runs and 11 hits over six innings in Thursday’s 5-0 loss at Cincinnati. He’s been hurt by a 2.29 run-support average – the sixth lowest in the majors.
"I didn’t have my best curveball, didn’t have my best changeup, my fastball command even," the right-hander said. "It just felt like a battle from the start."
Kennedy, who is 0-4 with a 4.20 ERA at home, has struggled against AL opponents with a 1-6 record and 6.69 ERA in his last seven starts. In his only career start against the Twins, he gave up four runs over 7 2-3 innings in an 8-7 win in May 2011 while with Arizona.
Minnesota has been scuffling offensively on the road, totaling 19 runs while batting .155 with runners in scoring position in its last seven games. Trevor Plouffe is 0 for 20 in his last five away from home, but he homered off Kennedy in the 2011 meeting and had two hits and two RBIs Sunday.
Joe Mauer hasn’t swung the bat well versus San Diego, going 3 for 29 in eight career meetings.
Brian Dozier, however, has been a bright spot with a .371 average over a nine-game hitting streak overall.
The Twins have won six straight against the Padres, though they haven’t met since 2011.