Trevor Plouffe needed 39 games to get his batting average above .200, but one problem the Minnesota Twins‘ third baseman hasn’t had is getting the maximum production out of each hit. Plouffe homered, doubled and drove in four runs to spark the resurgent Twins to an 11-3 romp over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. Plouffe has swatted seven homers in the last 16 games for Minnesota, which has won three straight and nine of its last 11 and goes for a three-game sweep of the Cubs on Sunday.
Chicago is going in the opposite direction of the Twins, having lost four straight and 20 of its last 24 games. The only constant during that stretch has been Alfonso Soriano, who belted his third homer of the series Saturday and has gone deep in 12 of the last 24 games. The Cubs are 1-8 entering the finale of a 10-game road trip and have a major league-worst 25 losses away from home.
Cubs Twins Betting
When: 2:10 PM ET, Sunday, June 10, 2012
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV: 2:10 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Ryan Dempster (1-3, 2.59 ERA) vs. Twins LH Francisco Liriano (1-6, 6.46 ERA)
Dempster finally got in the win column last time out, blanking the Milwaukee Brewers on three hits over seven innings. It was his first victory since Aug. 16, 2011, ending a winless drought that spanned 18 starts. Dempster has received as much run support in his last two starts as he had in his first eight of the season. He hasn’t faced the Twins since June 2006.
Liriano has turned in stellar back-to-back outings since returning to the starting rotation following a three-week stint in the bullpen. He was a hard-luck loser in a 1-0 defeat at Kansas City last time out, allowing four hits and striking out eight in six innings. That came on the heels of striking out a season-high nine and giving up three hits in six scoreless innings against Oakland.
1. Twins LF Josh Willingham has 14 RBIs during his 12-game hitting streak.
2. Saturday’s loss dropped the Cubs one game behind San Diego for the worst record in the majors.
3. Plouffe has 26 hits on the season and 15 (6 doubles, 9 HRs) have been for extra bases.