Padres ready for interleague battle in Minnesota

Fresh-off losing two of three over the weekend to the Dodgers, the San Diego Padres (18-17) will head to Minnesota to take on the Twins (19-16).

Minnesota is currently atop the AL Central, but they are returning home after losing four of their last six games to divisional rivals on the road. Like the Padres, this will be the Twins’ first interleague clash of the season. Having always competed in opposing circuits, San Diego and Minnesota don’t get together very often–there have only been 23 head-to-head games all-time. With MLB’s newly implemented schedule structure (every team now playing each other for at least one series annually), that is something that will change going forward.

In last year’s old format, the NL West just so happened to match-up with the AL Central, giving the Padres and Twins a meeting in 2022–San Diego did well to take two of three games at home. In that series, Blake Snell earned a win in Game 1, while Joe Musgrove was tagged with the loss in Game 2. Still, the Friars have not traveled to Minneapolis’ Target Field since 2017, where San Diego dropped three-in-a-row after winning the first contest of a four-game set.

Fast-forward to now, and in relation to the weather, I believe we will be lucky if we get two of these three games played over the next three days. On Tuesday, the forecast is showing a chance of rain storms from the early afternoon through game time (first pitch 4:40 p.m. PT/6:40 p.m. CT). Additionally, Wednesday’s weather projection is just as damp, featuring a 30-percent chance of thunderstorms in the evening. Thursday will also be overcast in the “Twin Cities,” but conditions should hold dry–anticipate the possibility of a doubleheader on Thursday, since the scheduled game already has an early start time (10 a.m. for us on the West Coast).

Let’s take a look at the projected starting pitchers for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Spoiler alert–there is not a southpaw in sight. 

Game 1 (Tue. May 9) – 4:40 p.m. PST – RHP Michael Wacha (2-1) vs. RHP Louie Varland (0-0).

Since 2015, Michael Wacha has made five starts against the Twins (as a member of St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Boston), going 3-1 with a 4.13 ERA. Louie Varland will be making only his eighth career start at the Major League level.

Game 2 (Wed. May 10) – 4:40 p.m. PST – RHP Seth Lugo (3-2) vs. RHP Pablo Lopez (2-2).

Playing for the New York Mets, Seth Lugo has started only one game in his entire career against the Twins–that was a ND back in 2017. For Pablo Lopez, he pitched for Miami last season, which saw him make two starts against the Padres. Lopez went 1-1 against San Diego in 2022, but got shelled for six earned runs behind five walks issued in the most recent meeting last August.

Game 3 (Thu. May 11) – 10:10 a.m. PST – RHP Yu Darvish (2-2) vs. RHP Bailey Ober (2-0).

Yu Darvish has pitched well for San Diego in recent consecutive outings against divisional rivals Los Angeles and San Francisco. Versus Minnesota, Darvish is 1-2 in his MLB career. He last faced the Twins back in 2020, where he surrendered four runs in a loss while pitching for the Cubs. On the other side, Bailey Ober has been a dominant arm for Minnesota in 2023. He is currently 2-0 with a 0.98 ERA through three games started, having yet to allow a home run this year.

Padres’ record against Minnesota
2022: 2-1
2017: 1-3
All-time: 7-16