After splitting a brief two-game set at Miller Park, the Twins now return to Target Field for the second half of a home-and-home series this week against the Brewers. The interstate rivalry annually produces a great deal of interest, with numerous Milwaukeeans trekking into town, so the ballpark figures to be a bustling place.
The weather forecast is looking beautiful (75 and sunny) for both Wednesday and Thursday, and Ticket King has some great seats available for both games, but if you have to pick one, which is the best option?
We'll dig into the specific match-ups shortly. But first, let's size up the opponent.
Last year, the Brewers went 74-88, finishing fourth in the NL Central. This year, they're off to a much better start, with a comfortable early lead in one of baseball's toughest divisions.
Milwaukee has jumped out to an impressive 35-24 record thanks, in part, to contributions from some familiar faces.
Carlos Gomez blossomed last year as an MVP-caliber player in center field, and he has only continued to grow this season. Through 53 games, Gomez is batting .310/.384/.562 with 11 homers, 11 steals and elite defense at a key position.
According to FanGraphs' Wins Above Replacement, Gomez has been the fourth-most valuable player in the NL, trailing only Troy Tulowitzki, Giancarlo Stanton and Yasiel Puig.
The guy is an absolute stud, and also damn fun to watch.
In addition to center field, the Brewers have a couple former Twins anchoring their rotation. Kyle Lohse was a late free agent signing last year, and he has turned into the team's ace, with a 7-1 record and 2.60 ERA through 12 starts.
Matt Garza was this year's marquee free agent splash, and although he hasn't had the same success as Lohse (Garza's 4.42 ERA is actually the highest among starters) he remains a quality pitcher with the ability to shut down opposing lineups, as he showed in Milwaukee on Monday.
The Twins won't face Lohse or Garza at Target Field, but they will have to deal with two formidable arms.
Wednesday: Marco Estrada vs. Ricky Nolasco @ 7:10 PM
Estrada might be one of the more underrated starters in the National League, and he's enjoying another strong season with a 5-2 record, 4.03 ERA and 62-to-20 K/BB ratio through 11 starts. The right-hander's biggest weakness is that he has always been somewhat homer-prone, and that has been magnified this year as he's already coughed up a league-leading 17 bombs.
The Twins have seen a few of their power bats start to heat up lately (most notably Josh Willingham), so if you're looking to see some balls fly out of the park, or if you're just generally looking for a decent chance at a win, this game is for you.
Thursday: Wily Peralta vs. Kevin Correia @ 7:10 PM
In a rare Thursday evening game, the Twins are staring at a lopsided pitching tilt. Correia has struggled mightily at home, where he's 1-4 with an unsightly 7.09 ERA. Meanwhile, the hard-throwing right-hander Peralta has been exquisite on the road, with a 1.88 ERA in four turns.
This will be a very tough one to win. But oftentimes, those are the most rewarding.
If you want to see the Twins try and add to Estrada's homer total, there are Wednesday night tickets available for under $25. Or, if you want to get the weekend started early, you could snag some tickets for Thursday's night game. All are an even better deal if you use the promo code DAILYDOUBLE, which will get you 10% off and supports Twins Daily. Whatever your needs, your local ticket supplier, Ticket King, can help.