Twins Notebook 8/7: A Clash with the Royals
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY SportsLast Night's Game Recap
PIT 6, MIN 5: Taylor Rogers Blows Save, Win Streak Snapped
Minnesota @ Kansas City Royals, 7:05 PM CT
Betting Lines: MIN -155, O/U 9.5
Twins Starter: Devin Smeltzer, LHP 1-0 11.57 ERA
Tonight is Smeltzer’s first start of the year as he’s worked as a bulk reliever for his two outings on the season. In six starts a year ago he posted a 4.11 ERA and allowed a .704 OPS to opposing hitters. While his ERA registered at just 3.44 when working in relief for the 2019 Twins, opponents OPS was nearly 200 points higher at .898.
Smelter may be fond of Kansas City as they provided his first Major League win. When facing them at Target Field on August 4, 2019 he went 6.0 IP allowing no runs on just two hits while fanning four and walking one.
The prototypical profile of a soft-tossing lefty, Smeltzer’s 89 mph average on the fastball won’t blow anyone away. His primary second pitch is the curveball, and it’s there that he looks for punchouts. He’s been a high strikeout guy in the minors and generated 7.0 K/9 last year as a rookie. The homer is his bugaboo and if he can avoid some of the Royals boppers tonight should go well for him.
Royals Starter: Jakob Junis, RHP 0-0 4.15 ERA
Junis has made just one appearance this season and it was a start against the Chicago White Sox. He lasted just 4.1 IP during that one and ceded two runs on six hits. Now in his fourth Major League season, the book has all but been written on Junis given the consistency he’s shown year over year.
You can pencil him in for an ERA in the mid fours, and it’ll be complimented by a modest walk and strikeout rate. He’s been an innings eater of sorts throwing over 170 IP in each of the past two years for Kansas City. Where the biggest opportunity for opponents against Junis comes is launching the longball. He’s never allowed less than 1.4 HR/9 and was up to 1.6 HR/9 each of the past two seasons.
Lefties had substantially more success against him last year, though the power numbers came from both sides of the plate. Kansas City knocked the Chicago Cubs around for 13 runs last night so it will be interesting to see if the bats have any runs support left in them.
News & Notes
- The St. Louis Cardinals return to the field today following their COVID-19 outbreak. It’s the first time they’ll have played a game since July 29, and the first time all 30 teams are active and healthy since the Marlins outbreak on July 26. UPDATE: More positives for the Cardinals, so no full slate tonight and St. Louis has a postponed game today.
- Shohei Ohtani returned to the lineup for the Los Angeles Angels following the MRI revealing a forearm injury that will keep him off the mound for the rest of 2020. He homered.
- Today, Mike Trout turns 29. At 74.0 fWAR he’s already posted the 46th highest mark in MLB history. What comes from here is anyone’s guess but it’s clear we’re watching one of the best ever.
Around the AL Central
CLE 13, CIN 0
KCR 13, CHC 2
MIL 8, CHW 3
1. MIN 10-3 (+29 run differential)
2. CLE 8-6 (+17)
3. CWS 7-6 (+2)
4. DET 5-5 (-11)
5. KCR 4-10 (-11)