Interleague could be the boost Twins need

Interleague could be the boost Twins need

Interleague could be the boost Twins need
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins are off to another rough start this season, but they are hoping they'll fare better in Interleague Play.

The Twins have historically played well against their National League counterparts, with an all-time Interleague record of 148-116. They've also done well in recent years, going 42-30 against the National League over the last four seasons, including an 8-10 record last season.

Minnesota will look to replicate that success when they begin Interleague Play on Friday against the rival Brewers at Miller Park.

The Twins play teams from both the National League Central and NL East this year, as they face the Brewers, Cubs, Phillies, Pirates and Reds.

2012 INTERLEAGUE PLAY PREVIEW
Watch all the Interleague action on MLB.TV
All-time club Interleague records
All-time Interleague leaderboard
Milwaukee is the club's natural rival in Interleague Play so they play the Brewers six times with a three games at both Miller Park and Target Field. The rivalry stems from their proximity and their history with the Brewers playing in the American League before joining the NL in 1998.

The Twins also host the Phillies and Cubs at Target Field before traveling to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati to face the Pirates and Reds, respectively.

The Twins have a stretch of 15 straight games against the NL that starts on June 10, when the Phillies come to Minneapolis for the first time since 2004.

Last year: The Twins went 8-10 in Interleague Play last season, winning series against the Padres, Dodgers and Brewers at home, but they were swept by the D-backs in Arizona and the Brewers in Milwaukee. They also went 1-2 against the Giants at AT&T Park.

All-time: The Twins' best record in a season against the NL was in '06, when they won 12 of 14 en route to winning the AL Central by one game over the Tigers. Minnesota's worst Interleague record was in 2000, when the club went 7-11.

Players to watch
Joe Mauer, C (.311, 13 HRs, 70 RBIs): Mauer has been a force against National League opponents, especially against the Brewers. He has a career .331 batting average with five homers and 22 RBIs in 40 games against Milwaukee.
Alexi Casilla, 2B (.234, 3 HRs, 14 RBIs): Casilla had a rough-go in Interleague Play last season, batting just .179 but did hit both of his homers on the year against National League opponents.
Carl Pavano, RHP (14-11, 3.86 ERA): Pavano has historically fared well in Interleague Play, and went 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in three outings against the National League last year.
Nick Blackburn, RHP (4-5, 5.94 ERA): Blackburn has struggled in 12 starts against National League foes, including last season when he went 0-2 with a 9.42 ERA in three starts.
at Brewers, May 18-20: The Twins carry a 223-212 advantage overall against the Brewers, and went 2-4 against them last season.

vs. Cubs, June 8-10: The Cubs make their first-ever trip to Target Field, as they last met in Interleague Play in 2009 at Wrigley Field. The Twins have a 10-11 record against the Cubs dating back to '97.

vs. Phillies, June 12-14: Like the Cubs, the Phillies will also be playing at Target Field for the first time. The two teams last met in 2010, when the Twins took two out of three at Citizens Bank Park. Minnesota holds the overall advantage at 5-4.

vs. Brewers, June 15-18: The Twins host the rival Brewers at Target Field for the third time, as Minnesota has taken two out of three against Milwaukee at home each of the last two years. The Twins have an all-time record of 113-95 at home against the Brewers.

at Pirates, June 27-29: Minnesota makes its second trip to PNC Park, as it swept Pittsburgh in a three-game set there in 2009. The Twins have a 13-8 record against the Pirates going back to '97.

at Reds, July 1-3: The Twins will be making their first appearance at Great American Ballpark, as they last played in Cincinnati in 2000. It marks the first series between the two teams since '01, and the Twins have an 8-7 advantage in the overall series.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.