Twins Notebook 9/30: Rebound or Retire
Yesterday’s Game Recap
HOU 4, MIN 1: Defensive Lapses, Lack of Offense Lead to Another Twins Loss
Twins vs. Astros 12:08pm CDT
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
Betting Lines: MIN -149, O/U 8.0
Twins Starter: Jose Berrios, RHP 4.00 ERA
In game one Rocco Baldelli went with the guy who emerged as the Twins staff ace. That was intended to be Jose Berrios, but Kenta Maeda came over from the Los Angeles Dodgers and ate his lunch in year one. This was the first season of his career in which the Puerto Rican has taken a step backwards, but as a traditional streaky starter, 12 games of runway were tough to work with.
Going into his final start of the season Berrios had strung together six outings of mastery. Minnesota went 4-2 in that stretch while Berrios worked to a 4-0 record. He posted a 2.14 ERA and allowed just a .547 OPS against. Looking to ride that momentum into the Postseason, the Cincinnati Reds gave him a bit of a fit in his final outing. Lasting just five innings, he allowed four runs on five hits. The whiffs were there as he punched out seven, but dominance was nowhere to be found.
There’s been a bit of everything this season from Berrios. We’ve seen increased fastball velocity, but command has not been as sharp. Stuff has looked great at times, but missing bats has been less frequent. Minnesota got the pitching in game one and the lineup failed. In game two, they’ll need a complete effort if Houston is going to be pushed to game three.
Astros Starter: Jose Urquidy, RHP 2.73 ERA
Still working in what amounts to his rookie season, Urquidy has some flashy numbers that aren’t back by anything overpowering. He made just five starts and worked one out shy of 30 innings this season. The ERA is a glowing 2.73, but the FIP is a less positive 4.71. He struck out just 5.2 per nine and limited damage by avoiding free passes.
It was up in the air as to what Houston would do in game two, also deciding on lefty Framber Valdez. The southpaw piggybacked Greinke in game one however, leaving Urquidy to take the ball. The Twins have struggled mightily against lefties this season, but the expected potency of the group has been missing against righties too.
Urquidy resides just outside of Houston’s top 10 prospects, and it’s because the sum of all parts is better than any one aspect. He’s not a hard thrower, doesn’t miss many bats, and spinning the ball isn’t his thing. He does a good job making you beat him however, and working around trouble isn’t something that phases him. Look for Houston’s Jose to make Minnesota capitalize rather than playing into any of their strengths.
News & Notes
- Prior to game one Rocco Baldelli noted he wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Alex Kirilloff make an appearance in this series. As a bopping left-handed bat, that may come into play today against Houston.
- The matchup in Cleveland turned out to be more bats than pitching as both aces gave up a run. Unfortunately for the Indians it was expected AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber that was beat around a bit, and New York jumped ahead in that series.
- As the only lower seed favored in their matchup, the White Sox held serve as expected. Moving to 15-0 against lefties this season, Chicago dispersed of rookie Jesus Luzardo. Adam Engel started the scoring and Jose Abreu kept up his hot hitting in 2020.
5 Overreactions to the Twins Game 1 Loss
4 Head Scratchers for Baldelli Against Astros
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