Joe Mauer has helped put the Minnesota Twins in position for their first three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in four seasons.
Now the question is whether Vance Worley can get anybody out.
No starting pitcher in the majors has a higher opponent batting average than Worley, who takes the mound for the Twins in Wednesday night's home finale after turning in the shortest start of his career in his last one.
Mauer is 8 for 10 with six RBIs in this series, posting consecutive games with at least four hits for the first time since June 26-27, 2006, against the Dodgers. He's 18 for 39 (.462) during a nine-game hitting streak.
"I've seen him hit his whole career," manager Ron Gardenhire said after Tuesday's 8-6 victory. "We've seen him do this. I keep saying it's incredible, and it is. At this level, to keep swinging and get those hits and rack them up like that, it is incredible. That will never change. He's just an amazing hitter."
Mauer is a big reason why the Twins (6-7) have come alive for 16 runs and 27 hits in this series. They can sweep Los Angeles (4-10) for the first time since April 17-19, 2009.
The Angels, however, have to like their chances against Worley (0-2, 10.50 ERA), who is allowing opponents to bat .410 against him. That's the worst mark among qualifying pitchers and his ERA is also last in the majors.
The right-hander was charged with nine runs over one-plus inning in Friday's 16-5 home loss to the Mets. He fell to 0-5 with an 8.00 ERA over eight outings dating to last season with Philadelphia.
"It's frustrating," Worley told the Twins' official website. "Nobody likes to have that happen to them."
Worley has never faced the Angels, although Albert Pujols is 3 for 3 against him. Pujols is 7 for 36 in eight career games at Target Field.
These teams' starters have the worst ERAs in baseball. Minnesota is at 5.98 while Los Angeles is last at 6.07 - 10.13 in this series.
"Everybody has their own unique set of circumstances and they're going to have to make adjustments according to their own game on what they need to do," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said about his rotation. "I think we have some really good pitchers that just aren't throwing the ball well right now.'
Tommy Hanson (1-1, 6.55) will try to become the first Angels starter to last at least seven innings when he faces Mauer and Minnesota for the first time. Hanson gave up all five runs over five innings in last Friday's 5-0 defeat to Houston.
The Twins hitter with the most experience against Hanson is Josh Willingham, who is 1 for 12 but has missed both games of this series with an illness.
Minnesota outfielder Wilkin Ramirez left Tuesday's game after being hit in the head with a pickoff attempt. Ramirez is listed as day to day.
The Twins are already down another outfielder. Center fielder Darin Mastroianni was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a stress reaction in his left ankle.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout, meanwhile, is 8 for 16 over his last four games.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved