Twins Notebook 8/8: The Return of Odorizzi
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY SportsLast Night's Game Recap
KCR 3, MIN 2: No Cruz, No Donaldson, No Arráez, No Offense
Minnesota @ Kansas City, 6:05 P.M. CT
Twins Starter: Jake Odorizzi
The big Twins news for Saturday is that Jake Odorizzi is scheduled to return to the mound and make his 2020 debut. The Big Stink was set to be a strong number two in the rotation for the Twins but was forced to miss the start of the season due to back problems. He threw a few bullpen sessions over the last week or so and the team now is evidently satisfied enough with his health to give him the green light.
Odorizzi made his first All-Star game in 2019 on the back of arguably his best season to date. An underwhelming 2018 led Odorizzi to seek pitching guidance from an expert in Florida named Randy Sullivan (the details can be found in this blog post). The lasting effect was a renewed career for Odorizzi. He posted the highest K% of his career (27.1%), the lowest FIP of his career (3.36), and the highest fWAR (4.3) of his career as well. This allowed for Odorizzi to accept the QO from the Twins over the off-season and set himself up for a great 2020.
His first start in 2020 will come against his old team, Kansas City. You may soon forget that Odorizzi was a Royal for a short time in 2012 as he only threw 7 ⅓ innings for them. He was swiftly dealt to the Rays along with Wil Myers in return for Wade Davis and James Shields, which is a fine group of Guys To Remember right there (I know Davis’ career isn’t over yet, but yikes).
Given that this will be Odorizzi's first start of the season, he will have a limited pitch count. He threw 50 pitches the last time he faced hitters and is shooting for 70-75 pitches in today's game.
Royals Starter: Danny Duffy
The Royals will start one of their longest tenured players in Danny Duffy. The 31-year-old lefty has been with the team since 2011 and has accrued 14.4 career fWAR over 1,070 ⅓ career innings pitched in the majors.
Duffy has seen his velocity dip over the years as he no longer is the type of guy to comfortably sit in the 93 MPH range. Still, he has been able to manipulate his pitch usage in order to stay an effective starting pitcher in the major leagues. “Effective” might actually be the perfect word to describe Duffy. You don’t pitch over 1000 major league innings without some ability after all and Duffy has thrown at least 130 innings in six straight seasons.
Duffy put up an above average ERA in 2019 (4.34) and could likely be considered the Royals’ ace of the staff. Despite crushing lefties last season to the tune of a 126 wRC+ in 2019, the Twins have struggled with just a 72 wRC+ against them in 2020. That’s a drop from the 2nd best in baseball to the 5th worst. Duffy will be far from a pushover and should give the Twins a challenge.
Mike Trout hit a home run. Normally this is anything but news, but this one happened to fall on his 29th birthday; giving him his 5th career birthday home run.
Josh Donaldson was placed on the 10 day IL retroactive to 8/4. Donaldson has been dealing with a right calf strain.
Logan Morrison hit his first home run of the season. I really have no good reason to post this but enjoy it anyways.
Around the AL Central
DET 17, PIT 13
CHW 2, CLE 0
1. MIN 10-4 (+28 run differential)
2. CHW 8-6 (+4)
3. DET 6-5 (-7)
4. CLE 8-7 (+15)
5. KCR 5-10 (-10)
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