Pitcher Preview: Andrew Albers vs Justin Verlander

Jim McIsaac

It's always fun when a rookie squares off against one of the game's best at his own position. Can he out-duel Verlander today?


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Andrew Albers 2-1 3 3 1 1 0 0 24.1 14 5 5 1 2 7 1.85 .66

So far, Albers has earned that statue. Even though he was charged with five runs in seven innings his last time out, four of them came in one inning and the fifth came when he was actually sent out to start the eighth inning. Granted, the lack of strikeouts is typical for a Twins starting pitcher (at least for the time being - I firmly believe this will continue to change in terms of draft strategy and who the Twins will target in free agency), but his command has been brilliant to date as he's allowed just 14 hits in 24.1 innings. There's nothing in his minor league track record that suggests this kind of success will continue for any length of time, but it's nice to ride a hot hand (arm?) when you can.

What makes Albers an interesting study in success is, in part, his arm. He doesn't throw gas. Well, the throws a fastball, but it come in at about the speed of Verlander's changeup. Everything else comes in under 80mph, including the occasional curveball that breaks off a hair under 70mph. As long as the fastball moves just a little bit and he can put it where he wants it, the velocity differential in all of Albers' offerings certainly works in his favor. Hopefully he can pull out another great start tonight.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Justin Verlander 12-8 25 25 0 0 0 0 158.2 157 71 63 14 57 154 3.57 1.35

Only 154 strikeouts in 158.2 innings pitched? What's wrong with Justin Verlander?!? Nothing much, really. He's been a bit more up and down than what we're used to, but make no mistake: he's fully capable of carving up every single batter the Twins could throw at him. As a group, the current Twins have a combined .194/.254/.331 triple slash when stepping in against the one-time Cy Young Award winner. I'd try to find a bright spot in there somewhere, but it doesn't exist.

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