SportsDirect Inc., Published June 13 2013
Twins look for series sweep tonight against PhilliesThe Philadelphia Phillies were above .500 and feeling good about themselves less than a week ago but have now dropped five straight. The Minnesota Twins, who will attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Phillies on Thursday, are now the team with optimism. The Twins have taken the first two games of the series to pull to within four games of .500 - exactly where Philadelphia's slide has left its record.
The Phillies have faltered in the late innings in each of the first two games of the series, surrendering the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 3-2 setback and squandering a 3-1 advantage in Wednesday's 4-3 loss. Domonic Brown has gone three straight games without a home run - his longest stretch in three weeks - and the pitching staff has not been able to overcome the lack of support. Minnesota got a surprise 4-for-4, two RBI-effort out of Clete Thomas on Wednesday, and rookie Oswaldo Arcia has gone 4-for-8 with an RBI and three runs scored in two games since being recalled.
TV: 7:10 p.m., Fox Sports North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies LH Cliff Lee (7-2, 2.55 ERA) vs. Twins RH Kevin Correia (5-4, 4.11)
Lee has not lost since May 1 and has posted seven straight quality starts. The veteran left-hander has struck out 20 batters in 14 2/3 innings over his last two turns but was left out of the decision on Friday at Milwaukee, when he allowed three earned runs in seven frames. Lee is 8-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 19 career starts against Minnesota and has been tough on Justin Morneau (8-for-35) and Josh Willingham (2-for-10).
Correia got off to a hot start but has gone 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA over his last seven turns. He struck out a season-high seven at Washington on Saturday but did not factor in the decision while allowing three runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Correia has never had much success against Philadelphia, going 1-3 with an 8.64 ERA in 11 games - four starts.
1. Brown's last four-game stretch without a home run was May 15-19.
2. Thomas had been 1-for-13 in parts of five previous games before breaking out on Wednesday.
3. Philadelphia LHP John Lannan (left knee) threw 81 pitches in a rehab start on Wednesday and declared himself ready to return to the majors.
PREDICTION: Phillies 4, Twins 2