Radio: Twins Radio Network
Entering the third week of the season, the AL Central standings are pretty much the opposite of most predictions, as Kansas City Royals sit in second place, just behind the red hot, division leading Cleveland Indians. Hopefully, tonight's first crack at a division opponent will reverse what has been a relatively ugly start to the Twins 2011 season. The offense, in particular, needs to wake up, as the Twins have scored only 24 runs over nine games, by far the fewest in Major League Baseball. Look no further than an almost total power outage, as the Twins .288 slugging percentage is also lowest in baseball, and no one is even close (Seattle is next lowest at .327). Throw in the lowest walk rate in all of baseball (6.0%), and 11 double plays (very high considering how few have reached base) and you end up lucky to have three wins so far.
|2011 - Brian Duensing||0-0||1||1||0||0||0||0||7.0||6||4||4||2||2||7||5.14||1.14|
Brian Duensing makes his second start of the season for the Twins. In his first start, in New York, Duensing got into trouble early, giving up four runs off two home runs in the first two innings. But he settled down afterwards, ultimately striking out six Yankees over seven innings to allow the Twins to come back against Rafael Soriano later in the game. Over his career, Duensing is 4-0 with a 3.33 ERA against the Royals. He'll be looking to slow down a Royals team that is averaging 5.4 runs per game.
|2011 - Jeff Francis||0-0||2||2||0||0||0||0||13.2||13||3||3||2||2||8||1.98||1.10|
I sure hope Jeff Francis is in the middle of throwing a pitch in the picture above. Somehow, Francis is making his third start of the season already, as the Royals have skipped their fifth starter both times through the rotation. It's a small sample size, but so far this season Francis has generally kept runners off the bases (1.10 WHIP), and very few who have reached have come around to score (very high 98.4% strand rate). He's left handed, so there's a decent chance the Twins make him look like Cy Young out there tonight.