Preview: Twins vs. Angels
Nick Tropeano takes the mound Sunday as the Los Angeles Angels look to wrap up a sweep of the Minnesota Twins at Target Field and extend their winning streak to seven games.
Tropeano (3-3, 4.35 ERA) has a 2.84 ERA in three career appearances against the Twins and is looking to bounce back after allowing five runs over 4 2/3 innings against Kansas City in an eventual 9-6 win on Monday.
It was a rare dud from an Angels' starter.
Los Angeles has the third-best ERA among AL rotations and the best in the league since May 1 (2.61).
The Angels are the only team in baseball to have five starters with an ERA at or below 3.50 this season.
"I don't think you could look at this last month and think we could pitch any better from the starting rotation," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "Some of these guys are getting a little more rest. At times they are going on normal rest. I think it's going to be a bigger plus as we move deeper into the season."
Adding Shohei Ohtani helped make it possible for the Angels to go with a six-man rotation. It was a double-edged sword as Ohtani was able to pitch on the same rest schedule as he did in Japan and the rest of the starters would get an extra day between outings.
Despite Ohtani landing on the disabled list, the Angels plan to keep using the six-day format, which Tropeano believes has helped him.
"You can get a little more intent into it," he said. "On a five-day rotation, you don't have that luxury. You want to stay with your routine. You throw 25-30 pitches. Now you can go maybe 35 or 40-plus with the six-day."
Tropeano is 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA on the road where the Angels are 20-10. He has a 2.84 ERA in three career appearances (two starts) against Minnesota.
Besides their winning streak, the Angels are 7-1 in their last eight games after getting a 2-1 win on Saturday following a four-hour rain delay. Albert Pujols homered and tied Hall of Famer Stan Musial on the RBI list at 1,951 good for sixth place.
Right-hander Fernando Romero (2-2, 3.96 ERA) goes for the Twins, who will be trying to avoid a sweep and have mustered three runs against the Angels.
Romero gave up two runs over six innings in his last outing Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. He made his first career appearance against the Angels earlier this season, allowing his first career run on four hits and three walks while striking out six over five innings.
Minnesota shuffled its roster slightly ahead of Saturday's game. Outfielder Jake Cave was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to provide some depth for a short-handed bench that had been carrying only three reserves for the last few weeks.
"Just looking at our roster here with a couple games to go before an off-day, being in fairly good shape with our bullpen, the bench has been a little bit slim in terms of options late in games," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "With the Angels being so right-handed dominant in their bullpen, knowing we can probably could use a potential one or two pinch-hitters late in the game, we just try to supplement with a guy in Jake who's probably been the most consistent down there of late for Rochester."
Cave appeared briefly with the Twins last month and homered in his big league debut May 19. He is batting .280 with five home runs and 25 RBIs for Rochester this season.
Reliever Tyler Duffey was optioned to Rochester, clearing room for Cave on the active roster.