The Twins have been close in the first two games of the series against the Rangers, but have lost both times by one run scores. They look to turn it around in today's afternoon game, and that duty is going to fall on the shoulders on the rookie, Pedro Hernandez.
This should be a tough task for Hernandez as his 3rd major league start is coming against one of the better offenses in the major leagues. He does have a nice 3.48 ERA in 10.1 innings this season, but there are plenty of other stats that suggest that he's been lucky this season. First, he has a 3.48 K/9 early in the season, which is really bad. Like, Kirk Rueter end of career and Aaron Cook territory bad. Now, Rueter survived with K rates that low by limiting walks and being average in allowing home runs. Cook got by in Colorado by getting an elite number of ground balls.
As for Hernandez, he doesn't have as much going for him. Rueter might be the better comparison as he was another soft-tossing lefty, but Rueter didn't give up a ton of home runs. In his short career, the same can't be said for Hernandez, as he has a 3.15 HR/9 in 15 1/3 IP. A pitcher isn't going to go an entire career with a gopher ball rate that is as astronomical as that, but it's either because it normalizes or the organization gets tired of it and sends him to the minors before it stabilizes. Let's hope it's the former for Hernandez. Anyway, expect him to locate his high-80s fastball around the zone, and then mix in some change-ups, cutters, and slow curveballs.
Opposing Hernandez will be Rangers lefthanded goofball Derek Holland. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2011 by throwing 198 IP with a 3.95 ERA, which is more impressive considering The Ballpark in Arlington is his home stadium. However, his numbers 180'd last season as he struggled with home runs and had a 4.67 ERA in 175 1/3 IP.
Holland's fastball sits in the 93 MPH range and has a lot of tailing action into lefthanded hitters, which unsurprisingly has helped him handle lefties well in his career (.241/.309/.342). It wouldn't surprise me if Oswaldo Arcia and/or Chris Parmelee sit today, but then again, Gardy likes his set lineup and could also just keep those guys in the lineup while sitting Ryan Doumit for another game (to be fair though, Doumit hits RHP better anyway). That's a shame though, because righthanded hitters have knocked Holland around to the tune of a .261/.323/.462 triple-slash.
Who knows, maybe this will even lead to an Aaron Hicks extra-base hit?