|11:10 AM PT12:10 PM MT1:10 PM CT2:10 PM ET14:10 ET18:10 GMT2:10 11:10 AM MST1:10 PM EST1:40 PM VEN22:10 UAE1:10 PM CT, July 7, 2019
Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota Attendance: 35,495
Rangers, Twins piecing together pitching for finale
Sunday's series finale between Texas and Minnesota in Minneapolis was originally going to feature a battle of two All-Star pitchers.
Left-hander Mike Minor (8-4, 2.54 ERA) was penciled in for the Rangers, while Jake Odorizzi (10-4, 3.15) was scheduled for the Twins. But both will skip their starts to rest up for the second half of the season.
Right-hander Jose Leclerc (1-2, 4.62), who struck out the side while throwing 30 pitches in one inning of relief in Saturday afternoon's 7-4 loss to Minnesota, will be used as an opener on Sunday for the Rangers, who are expected to use left-hander Joe Palumbo (0-1, 16.50) in the bulk role.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will use right-hander Kyle Gibson (8-4, 4.13), pitching on three days' rest after allowing two earned runs and five hits in six innings in a 4-3 victory at Oakland on Wednesday night. He is expected to take an opening role lasting two innings, with left-hander Devin Smeltzer (0-1, 3.65) expected to take over after that.
Minor, who is second in the American League in ERA, last pitched on Tuesday night in a 9-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. He threw 110 pitches in just 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on two hits and four walks, and received a no-decision.
Minor, who will still attend Tuesday night's All-Star Game in Cleveland but will not pitch, has thrown 117 innings in the first half of the season, just 87 2/3 off his career high set in 2013 with the Atlanta Braves. He threw just 157 innings in 28 starts last season for the Rangers.
"Ten days off now is better than the short leash of last year," Minor told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "That was the thing we talked about. Woody (Texas manager Chris Woodward) talked about taking me out early. I don't like that. I like pitching until I'm pretty much done. Either I'm tired or not throwing strikes or they're hitting the ball around on me. I'd rather do this."
Odorizzi was placed on the injured list with a blister on his right middle finger following an 8-6 loss at Oakland on Tuesday night that saw him allow five earned runs, including a grand slam to Chris Herrmann, in just three innings.
"I think it's the right thing to bump him and get him ready for post All-Star break games," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told MLB.com. "We think he's going to be fine to make those starts after the break. Everyone wants to pitch, everyone wants to play if you make the (All-Star) team, but I think everybody here is on the same page that this is the wise move. Everyone's all in on this."
Minnesota will be trying to complete a series sweep of Texas which has lost six of its last seven games. The Twins, who have hit a major league record 166 home runs before the All-Star break, smacked four in a 15-6 win in Friday's night's series opener, and Marwin Gonzalez hit his 10th in Saturday's 7-4 victory, giving Minnesota 10 players with double-digit homers heading into the All-Star break.
The Twins are 28-14 at Target Field this season, while Texas is 18-25 on the road.
--Field Level Media
Updated July 7, 2019