Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was asked recently if he was looking forward to Monday and beginning an August schedule that has his club playing 20 of its next 28 games at home.
“We’ve reached that point of the season where you don’t look ahead to tomorrow,” Baldelli said. “Every game is important.”
Like Sunday afternoon’s game in San Diego, when the Twins will face the Padres in the finale of a three-game series.
Friday night’s 10-1 Padres’ win — during which San Diego hit a season-high five home runs — was something of an anomaly in the interleague history of the Padres and Twins.
Sunday’s matchup will be the 23rd between the two teams. The Twins own a 16-6 series edge, which is their best record against any National League team.
“I can’t explain our success against the Padres over the years before I was here,” said Baldelli, whose team avoided its first four-game losing streak of the season with Saturday’s nationally televised 7-4 win.
Sunday’s rubber match will feature right-hander Dylan Bundy (6-4, 5.02 ERA) starting for the Twins against Padres left-hander Sean Manaea (5-5, 4.33).
Bundy will make his second career start against the Padres. He was an Oriole in the first meeting in 2019 and allowed five runs on six hits (including two home runs) and three walks with four strikeouts in four innings to take the loss at Camden Yards.
Bundy will make his 18th start of the season Sunday, and opponents are batting .275 against him. Although he is 2-0, Bundy has struggled over his last three starts — giving up 12 runs on 18 hits and five walks in 14 1/3 innings.
In his most recent outing on July 26 at Milwaukee, he matched his season highs by allowing two homers and two walks.
Meanwhile, Padres manager Bob Melvin’s plan to find at least temporary replacement for struggling closer Taylor Rogers took a blow on Saturday. Candidate Adrian Morejon gave up four runs on three hits — including a two-run homer by Carlos Correa — in one-third of an inning.
“We’ve got to do a better job at the back-end of games,” Melvin said. “It’s not just one pitcher.”
Manaea will make his 19th start as a Padre on Sunday. Opponents are batting .239 against him, and he has 104 strikeouts in 104 innings.
For the season, the Padres are 9-9 when Manaea starts. However, they are 2-3 in his last five outings, and his ERA has climbed in four of those five games. He has given up 21 runs (16 earned) in 25 innings over those five games.
“The one thing you get from Manaea every game is a battle,” said Melvin, who managed Manaea at Oakland before each came to the Padres. “He’s a great competitor.”
–Field Level Media