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MLB - US Sports: Decisive week in LA for Minnesota Twins?

The Minnesota Twins face both Los Angeles sides this week in pivotal series duels and it could prove a decisive week.

First up, they travel to Dodger Stadium, not the easiest place to play at the best of times.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best record in Major League Baseball at present and they have won the last eight encounters against the Minnesota Twins. Fortunately for the Twins, they play only a two-game series against the Dodgers.

However, they may be able to claw some wins back against the Los Angeles Angels, who they play three games against. The Angels appear to have given up on the season, trading away some of the players at the deadline.

Small lead in American League Central

The Twins are +1700 to win the American League and lead the AL Central Division by one game over the Cleveland Guardians. Minnesota has been in first place for 105 consecutive days and their biggest lead has only been 5.5 games. They have been pushed all the way by the Guardians.

The Chicago White Sox have joined the party and have moved over .500 in recent days and now sit just two games back from the Twins.

Following their tough week in LA, the Twins then have a seven-game home stand against the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers.

A requirement for consistent Baseball

Since the All-Star break the Twins are 7-7, playing .500 baseball. Minnesota has just squared a series with the Toronto Blue Jays which will give them confidence and hopefully a bit of consistency.

It could have all been different for the Twins as they came close to winning the series against the in-form Blue Jays.

The Twins rallied in the ninth inning before a disputed replay review led to an overturned out at home in the 10th inning. The following run meant Toronto won 3-2 that led to the split of the series.

Speaking to the Minnesota Twins official website after the game, pitcher Chris Archer said: "It's tough to swallow, definitely. We felt we played a really good game. We felt we've been playing really, really good baseball.

"Any time that you can go into the ninth inning with the game that close, not having (Byron) Buxton and (Carlos) Correa in the (starting) line-up - that's really, really good for us. But it sucks that it ended the way it ended."

Injuries telling for Twins

While the Twins have battled consistency, they have also had some injury problems. Relief pitcher Emilio Pagan exited the game against Toronto with a right lat cramp. Following the game an examination showed no further damage, so the Twins will assess on a day-to-day basis.

There is bad news though for outfielder and first baseman Alex Kirilloff. The young star had hoped to avoid surgery on his problematic right wrist, however the 24-year-old will now have the procedure and will miss the rest of the season.

The hope is that it will help avoid continued flare-ups of soreness and pain that persisted, even after his season-ending surgery last July to repair a torn ligament.

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Dodgers are on fire

The Twins will have to be at their best and some against the Dodgers' All-Star line-up, who have racked up nine wins from their last ten matches, including eight wins on the bounce and sweeps of the Giants (first time in San Francisco since 1977) and the much-improved San Diego Padres.

The Dodgers (75-33) remain on course to become the fifth team in Major League Baseball history to win more than 110 games.

They won 106 games last year and still lost the NL West Division to the Giants, who won 107. The Dodgers have a 15.5 game lead over the San Diego Padres.

Questions for the Angels

If the Twins can come out of the two-game series against the Dodgers unscathed, they should receive some solace against the out-of-form Los Angeles Angels.

Since they sacked Joe Maddon following a 12-game losing streak, they appointed Phil Nevin, one of Maddon's coaches. Nevin's record is 19-34, hardly a complete improvement as, if anything, the Angels have gotten worse.

Trading pitcher Noah Sydergaard was a key point to where the Angels see this season. They have struggled badly without injured duo Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. They have heavily relied upon two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

The Twins are +4000 to win the World Series, however they need consistency in their results. Can they win the series against the Dodgers? It's a tough ask, but the Angels series following that is far more winnable on paper.

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