Major League Baseball
Preview
Toronto at Minnesota
When: 1:10 PM ET, Thursday, April 17, 2014
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Minnesota Twins will have two chances to end their long-time struggles against the Toronto Blue Jays as the teams face off in a split doubleheader Thursday at chilly Target Field. Temperatures in Minnesota are expected to be in the mid-30s just one day after flurries forced the postponement of the middle game of the three-game series. Toronto prevailed 9-3 in the series opener and has won 16 of the last 20 encounters between the teams.

The key to the Twins' success will be figuring out how to curtail the Jays' surging offense. Toronto used two big innings - a five-fun fifth and a four-run ninth - to cruise in the series curtain raiser and has scored 20 runs in its past two games after a slow start to the campaign. Minnesota has been formidable when it comes to run-scoring - piling up 70 in its first 13 games - but has struggled at the plate overall, batting just .238 heading into Thursday's double dip.

TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, RSN (Toronto), FSN North (Minnesota)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH R.A. Dickey (1-2, 5.30 ERA) vs. Twins RH Kyle Gibson (2-0, 1.59)

Dickey has had an uneven start to 2014, looking brilliant against the New York Yankees on April 5 but struggling mightily in losses to the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros. The 39-year-old failed to capitalize on the light-hitting Astros in his last outing, surrendering five runs on six hits - including a pair of home runs - over seven uninspiring innings. Dickey is 2-2 with a 6.11 ERA - his third-highest against any opponent - in 35 1/3 innings versus the Twins.

Gibson is off to a sensational start to the season, recording back-to-back victories over the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals while allowing just one run in each. Gibson worked effectively into the seventh inning against the Royals, scattering five hits while working around four walks and fanning three. The 26-year-old Indiana native struggled mightily at home during his rookie 2013 campaign, going 1-2 with an 8.10 ERA in five starts.

WALK-OFFS

1. Dickey has allowed 37 home runs in 37 starts with Toronto.

2. Blue Jays DH Adam Lind is day-to-day after exiting Tuesday's game with lower back tightness.

3. Toronto OF Melky Cabrera has hit safely in a franchise-record 14 straight games to open the season.

PREDICTION: Twins 5, Blue Jays 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Toronto 8-6 W2 3-3 5-3 5-5 1-0 2-1 0-0
Minnesota 6-7 L1 3-4 3-3 0-1 6-3 0-3 0-0
Last Meeting
Toronto Minnesota
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/15/14 TOR 9 MIN 3 .359 1 .909 .212 1 .744
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Toronto J. Bautista .600 3 1.400
Minnesota C. Colabello .600 3 1.400
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Toronto B. Lawrie 1 1 5
Minnesota T. Plouffe 1 1 1
Pitching ERA Avg K
Toronto 3.00 .359 9
Minnesota 9.00 .212 7
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Toronto M. Cabrera .323 21 .903
Minnesota J. Kubel .357 15 1.009
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Toronto J. Bautista 5 12 10
Minnesota B. Dozier 4 14 6
Pitching ERA Avg K
Toronto 3.56 .238 122
Minnesota 5.46 .238 85