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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Minnesota Twins

It’s time for the annual home-and-home split series against Paul Molitor’s Twins

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After taking 2 of 3 from the AL wildcard-contending Tampa Bay Rays, the Brewers return to the midwest for their annual home-and-home split series with the Minnesota Twins.

Like the Rays, this year's Twins have a good amount in common with the Brewers. Minnesota has hovered around .500 for much of the year, finishing the first half a couple games over the even mark. Unexpectedly in the AL Wildcard race, the Twins decided to be mild buyers (like the Brewers) at the trade deadline, acquiring Jaime Garcia from Atlanta on July 24th. The Twins proceeded to win just one game in the next week, causing them to flip Garcia to the Yankees on July 30th.

Still, the Twins have been surprisingly competitive this year, and that's due in large part to Miguel Sano breaking out. Still only 24 but playing in his third major league season, Sano enters the series hitting .270/.358/.520 with a team-leading 25 home runs, already matching his career high from last year. Sano has missed the last couple games after getting hit with a pitch on his hand on Friday night and will undergo an MRI today. There's a chance he misses at least a part of this series.

Probable Pitchers

Monday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Brent Suter vs. Ervin Santana

Plenty of eyebrows were raised (and maybe chortles expressed) when the Twins signed Santana to a 4-year, $54 million deal before the 2015 season. Santana's been nothing but solid for Minnesota, though, taking advantage of the pitcher-friendly Target Field to consistently outperform his FIP. That's the case again this year, with Santana coming into this start with a 3.28 ERA despite a 4.81 FIP. The 34-year-old has been a total workhorse for manager Paul Molitor this season, throwing 5 complete games in 22 starts, including a 2-run, 9-strikeout complete game in his most recent start against San Diego. No other team has more than 4 complete games.

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Matt Garza vs. Adalberto Mejia

Mejia was the return when the Twins traded Eduardo Nunez to the Giants at the trade deadline last season. In 17 starts in his rookie season, he's been pretty average, putting up a 4.30 ERA (4.85 FIP) and an ERA+ of 104. Walks have been a killer for him this year, though, issuing 39 free passes in 83.2 innings. Even when he's not walking guys, he's had trouble being efficient this year, with only four starts reaching the 7th inning. He hasn't gone six full innings in about a month, going 5.1, 4.1, 5.0 and 4.0 innings in his past 4 starts. Mejia throws in the low 90s but keeps hitters off balance with a decent slider and changeup.

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Bartolo Colon vs. Brandon Woodruff

We may never know if Bartolo is faster than a horse, but we do know that he is coming off a complete game at age 44. In four starts since catching on with Minnesota following his release from Atlanta, Colon has a 5.18 ERA and 87 ERA+. The Brewers faced him back in April when he was still with the Braves, belting 10 hits for 6 runs in 5 innings. This game being in Milwaukee also means we'll be treated to Bartolo Colon wielding a bat for the second time this year.

Thursday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Kyle Gibson vs. Zach Davies

A month ago, Gibson and Davies were in similar positions, with slow starts to the season leading to ERAs over 5. Davies has been great for the past month, though, cutting his ERA by nearly a full run over his past four starts. Gibson has gone in the other direction, and will enter this start with an ERA over 6. That's due to a sky-high WHIP of 1.710 in 100 innings this year, mixed with a complete lack of strikeout stuff (5.9 K/9) and a problem with walks (4.2 BB/9). You could make a case that Gibson has been the worst starting pitcher in the majors this year, at least among those with 20 starts this year (Thursday will be his 20th of the year). He allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 5.1 innings in his last start against Texas.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference