The Padres (51-60) kickoff their brief road trip in Minneapolis to play the Twins (50-60) for two games. The Padres are coming off of a sweep of the Braves and have won 5 of their last 6. The Twins are coming off of a high-scoring series win against the White Sox, where they scored at least 8 runs in each of the 3 games.
In the first game of the series, the talented rookie Jesse Hahn (7-2, 2.01 ERA) pitches against former Yankee Phil Hughes (10-8, 4.12 ERA). Hahn has won 3 straight starts and gone at least 6 innings in each of those starts. Hughes has lost his last 3 starts, with an ERA of 5.63 in that stretch.
The second game and finale of the series features the other Padres rookie starter Odrisamer Despaigne (2-3, 2.68 ERA) against former Padre Kevin Correia (5-13, 4.96 ERA). Despaigne has struggled of late. He has not won since June 29th and allowed 6 earned runs his last time out against the Cardinals. Correia is tied with Padre Eric Stults for the most losses in the major leagues this year. He pitched 61 games for the Padres from 2009 to 2010, going 22-21 with a 4.49 ERA.
The Twins are in dead last in the AL Central. They are without 2 key players in Joe Mauer and Ricky Nolasco, who are both on the DL. Home Run Derby participant Brian Dozier leads the way for the Twins offense, hitting 19 HRs with 49 RBI and 57 walks. The Twins have a .249 team batting average. They are 3rd in the AL in strikeouts. They are in the bottom 10 in most offensive categories.
The key to a series win, which would be a sweep, is hitting. The Padres have hit substantially better since the All-Star break. If Despaigne can get back on track and if Hahn can pitch like he has most of this season, the Padres should sweep this series with some runs. Both pitchers have the ability to take over a game and put the Padres in a position to win a low-scoring game.