Twins attempt to win their first series of 2014 in today's afternoon rubber match.
First Pitch: 12:05 CDT
Radio: K-TWIN, TIBN
- Yesterday's 7-3 victory was Ron Gardenhire's 1000th career victory
- The Twins aren't playing a typical Sunday lineup - they're playing all of the regulars, apart from the resting Oswaldo Arcia who is getting a couple of days off for his wrist
- Justin Masterson threw seven shutout innings in his first start and still came away with a no-decision
- Chris Colabello is still batting cleanup
Masterson has turned into a pretty fantastic piece for the Indians
, considering they swapped Victor Martinez
for him (and a couple of spare parts). It was back when teams were still willing to acquire rental parts for cost-controlled young pitching...remember those days? Like yesteryear.
But sticking to just last year, Masterson found a new level with his slider. It was, over the course of the season, the most dominant pitch he's had in his career. He threw it more often and contact rates dropped along with it, earning him a better swinging strike percentage which, naturally, helped give a healthy bump to his strikeout rates. The question is: was it a one-and-done thing, or was it something he can continue to repeat going forward?
He threw on 23% of his pitches against Oakland in his 2014 debut, and I suspect the Twins will see a great deal of it today. We'll get an early and first-hand look at whether or not that slider can continue to make Masterson one of the better starting pitchers in the American League.
Eight balls in play were classified as fly balls in Nolasco's first start of the spring, and two of them left the ballpark. It was somewhat out of character, considering he's averaged 20 or 21 home runs allowed in a full season going back to 2009. Provided he remains consisted in batted ball distribution, meaning roughly just 32% of batted balls becoming fly balls this season, it means we can look forward to just 18 home runs over his next 30 or so starts. That would be something.
Let's see if the new Twins "ace" can come through with a better outing today against a lineup that, as far as I'm concerned, isn't as dangerous as Chicago's.
I just cursed the Twins, didn't I?
Twins: Dozier (2B), Mauer (1B), Willingham (LF), Colabello (DH), Plouffe (3B), Kubel (RF), Suzuki (C), Hicks (CF), Florimon (SS)
Indians: Morgan (CF), Swisher (1B), Kipnis (2B), Santana (3B), Brantley (LF), Chisenhall (DH), Gomes (C), Murphy (RF), Aviles (SS)