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MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 06: Odubel Herrera #37 of the Philadelphia Phillies slides into third on a triple during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 6, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Preview: Philadelphia Phillies Vs. Twins Series [START TIME & CHANNEL]

The Minnesota Twins head to Citizens Bank Park to take on the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are coming off a season in which they finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel. However, a late-season slump put them in third place and pushed them to add Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto, and Bryce Harper as well as locking up Aaron Nola before he hit free agency. They got off to a hot start, going 4-1 after sweeping the reigning NL East champions Atlanta Braves and splitting a two-game road series against the Washington Nationals.

The Twins are also 4-1 after sweeping the Kansas City Royals and going 2-1 against the Cleveland Indians. They’re hoping to rebound from a 78-84 season in which longtime Twin Brian Dozier was traded away and young stars Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton spent significant time on the disabled list. The acquisition of Jonathon Scoop, CJ Cron, and Nelson Cruz make this team a competitor.

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When facing the Phillies, there’s an added element of chance. Both their rotation and their bullpen are top-heavy, meaning that if their stars are used up or resting, the odds can shift in an opponents favor dramatically. While the Twins won’t have to face Nola, they will have to square off against former Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta. In the bullpen, Juan Nicasio and David Robertson are big name guys but they’ll be used at the manager’s discretion. The Twins typically field one of the faster teams in the league. This could be a difference maker as both Maikal Franco and Harper are suspect on the defensive end and an aging McCutchen can’t be counted on in the ways that he once was. If a ball drops, and at least a few will, expect the Twins to try and eke out a win on those.

On Friday, April 5. at 6:05 P.M. CST, Jake Odorizzi will face off against Nick Pivetta. The next day, at 1:05 P.M. CST, Michael Pineda will take the mound for Minnesota against Arrieta. To wrap up the series on April 7, at 12:05 P.M. CST, Jose Berrios will face Zach Eflin.

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Written by Bill Piersa

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