Complete coverage of the 2014 season

Red-Hot Padres Head to Twin Cities

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Don’t put away those brooms just yet, Padres fans. There could be more sweeping on the way.

    After taking three straight from the Atlanta Braves over the weekend for their second series sweep of the season, the Friars head to the Twin Cities to face the last-place Minnesota Twins for a quickie two-game series starting Tuesday.

    Things are pointing up for the Friars: A lineup that’s suddenly clicking after months of ineptitude, a hot pitcher in Jesse Hahn throwing the opener, a Twins team that has lost more than it’s won at home (24-29).

    Most of all, it’s the fact that the Padres – yes, the Padres – are the hottest team in baseball, having won five of six and 10 of 15. That’s the best mark in baseball over that time. Can you believe they have scored the most runs in baseball (78 in 16 games) since the All-Star break?

    Maybe the addition by subtraction strategy will keep on working. After dealing away a ton of talent before the trade deadline, the Padres just lost Vice President/Assistant General Manager A.J. Hinch, who quit his job on Tuesday. The move comes amid a drawn-out search for a new GM.

    Hey, if losing a bunch of players on the field leads to some wins, maybe the same will be true in the executive offices, too.

    Either way, a five-game road trip starts out on a high note – and maybe a little more sweeping by the Friars. Here’s a peek at what to expect from the upcoming series.

    Matchups:
    Tuesday, 5:10 p.m.:
    Jesse Hahn (R, 2.01) vs. Phil Hughes (R, 10-8, 4.12)
    After a shaky MLB debut, Hahn has been untouchable. He has allowed more than two  earned runs just once in his last eight starts, winning seven of them. Hughes has lost three straight starts, despite walking just two batters in that span.

    Wednesday, 10:10 a.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (R, 2-3, 2.68) vs. Kevin Correia (R, 5-13, 4.96)
    You could really call OD’s start against the Cardinals (5.2 IP, 9 hits, 6 runs) his first bad start since getting called up. He still have five quality starts in his first seven outings. Correia joins Eric Stults as the only two pitchers in baseball with 13 losses.

    What’s at stake: From a playoff perspective, both teams more or less lost hope long ago. They each trail the wild card race in their respective leagues by 8 ½ games. That’s not insurmountable, but come on.

    The Padres look to build on what has been their hottest run of the season. This is a team that has lost just one series since the All-Star break, but must play 15 of its next 18 games on the road.

    This is the last time the two teams will meet this year. The Twins won a pair at Petco Park back in May.

    Who to watch:
    Padres:
    Tommy Medica just punished the Braves, tallying three homers and 18 total bases, including a five-hit game on Friday. He is 16 for 35 (.457) since the break, good for second in the NL. Outfielder Seth Smith leads the team with 11 homers, 32 RBIs and a .289 average. He has hits in four of his last five starts. Infielder Yangervis Solarte has been a shot in the arm since coming over from the Yankees. He has 14 hits and a pair of homers in his first 12 games as a Padre.

    Twins: All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier has been one of the rare sources of power in this lineup, conking 19 home runs and driving in 49. He’s also struck out a whopping 92 times this year. Dozier has nine hits in his last five games. Outfielder Josh Willingham has 11 long balls but is hitting just .218 on the year. Closer Glen Perkins is fourth in the league with 27 saves.

    Coming up: The wide open road awaits, as the Padres head to Pittsburgh this weekend. They return home for three against the Colorado Rockies next week before embarking on a 10-game road trip.

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