Season 2020, Ep. 1: The One When the Season Started on March 26th
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY SportsGiven the state of the world, it’s unknown when both of these “days” will occur in the future. However, aside from MLB the Show 20, the most baseball fun that we can have is to play the “what-if” game for how the season could’ve kicked off for the Twins if the season started as scheduled. What could the match-ups have looked like? Who would’ve had the advantage in each series? What would the AL Central standings have looked like today? Let the kids play!
March 26th - 29th: Opening Series @ Athletics
Game 1: Jose Berrios v. Mike Fiers
Game 2: Jake Odorizzi v. Sean Manaea
Game 3: Kenta Maeda v. Frankie Montas
Game 4: Homer Bailey v. Jesus Luzardo
Prediction: Twins split the series against the Athletics
The Twins would’ve kicked off the year with one of the toughest series on their schedule. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale picked the Oakland Athletics to not only take the AL West crown but also face the Dodgers in the World Series. Other than the now infamous Mike Fiers, Oakland seemingly does not have a big-name ace. However, Oakland quietly has one of the strongest rotations in baseball. Sean Manaea had a quiet but extraordinary start to 2019 before his shoulder surgery, and Frankie Montas posted a 2.63 ERA prior to his suspension. Jesus Luzardo is their rookie, who is seeking his Randy Dobnak moment.
However, Jose Berrios, a Cy Young dark horse candidate, is notoriously impressive on opening day and the first half of the season. Jake Odorizzi doesn’t dominate the Athletics, but his consistency cannot be ignored. Kenta Maeda has only had 10 at bats against Oakland hitters throughout his career, with only one hit allowed from Stephen Piscotty. Lastly, no one knows his former team better than Homer Bailey.
Overall, this series is well matched and very competitive, with pitchers looking to prove themselves for a myriad of reasons after notorious events of 2019. With the Twins’ spotted history against the Athletics, the most that can be hoped for is a split series.
March 30th - 1st: @ Mariners
Game 1: Randy Dobnak v. Marco Gonzales
Game 2: Jose Berrios v. Yusei Kikuchi
Game 3: Jake Odorizzi v. Justus Sheffield
Prediction: Twins sweep the Mariners
Like in 2019, the Twins will completely overwhelm the Mariners in this series (who could forget that infamous 18-4 game?). The Mariners are looking to rebuild their team in an extraordinary division. They have very little offensive power, and their greatest pitching roadblock is found in former first round pick Justus Sheffield.
April 2nd - 5th: Home Opener vs. Athletics
Game 1: Kenta Maeda v. Frankie Montas
Game 2: Homer Bailey v. Jesus Luzardo
Game 3: Randy Dobnak v. Chris Bassitt
Prediction: The Twins will win 1 of 3
Refreshed from a series sweep, the Twins will once again face off against Oakland, with Maeda and Bailey back on the mound and Randy Dobnak facing the team for the first time. It’s a very tough call as to which team will take the series. Game 3 is the only matchup where the Twins have a slight pitching advantage. Previously, the Twins have not fared well against the Athletics and often lose very close games. Pessimistically following the previous pattern, I don’t expect this to change.
April 6th - 9th: vs. Indians
Game 1: Jose Berrios v. Shane Bieber
Game 2: Jake Odorizzi v. Aaron Civale
Game 3: Kenta Maeda v. Zach Plesac
Prediction: Twins take 2 of 3, wins in Game 2
Last season, the Twins made a statement during their first series against Cleveland by stunning Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Since then, Kluber has been traded to the Rangers, and Cookie and their ace Mike Clevinger are battling injuries. However, the Twins can be expected to make a similar statement towards a younger but similarly competitive Cleveland rotation.
The secret weapon in this series lies in Jake Odorizzi. Odorizzi has previously silenced the bats of the Cleveland Indians with hitters batting a career .205 against him. Odorizzi’s dominance and consistency is a surefire win against Aaron Civale. In addition, during his tenure as a Dodger, Kenta Maeda has previously seen two of the Indians’ best hitters, Cesar Hernandez and Franmil Reyes, which leaves very few surprises in store for him.
Current AL Central Standings:
- Cleveland Indians (9-5)
- Minnesota Twins (8-5)
- Chicago White Sox (6-6)
- Kansas City Royals (5-7)
- Detroit Tigers (4-8)
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email