Hard as it is for all of us to tear away from the draft, the Twins return to Target Field tonight against the Kansas City Royals. After a 3-4 road trip during which the Twins played without starters Justin Morneau (stomach flu), Michael Cuddyer (bereavement list), J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson (wrists / hands), at least Morneau and Cuddyer are expected to be back in the lineup. Chances are that in order to activate Cuddyer from the bereavement list, Orlando Hudson will be placed on the DL to make room. And Hardy may also be placed on the DL in order to allow the Twins to bring someone (Trevor Plouffe?) up for bench purposes. But since no moves have yet been made, we can probably expect Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert and Brendan Harris to all be in the lineup tonight. The Royals come in having taken two out of three games at home against the Detroit Tigers, so hopefully the Twins will thank them with a three game sweep.
Starting pitchers and lineups follow after the jump. In the meantime, enjoy the draft.
#59 / Pitcher / Minnesota Twins
May 04, 1984
|2010 - Kevin Slowey||6-3||12||11||0||0||0||0||63.1||74||27||27||8||15||46||3.84||1.41|
Kevin Slowey comes in on a bit of a hot streak during which his ERA has dropped from 4.72 on May 17th down to 3.84 over his last three start, giving up 4 runs in 19.1 innings and striking out 13 batters versus only 3 walks. And Slowey has started to pitch deeper into games. After six straight starts where he failed to make it out of the sixth inning, Kevin has pitched 6.2 and 7.0 innings against Texas and Seattle in his last two outings. For the season, Slowey has allowed quite a few hits (74 in 63.1 innings) due to a high BABIP (.332), but one that is pretty much in line with his career average (.320) and line drive rate (20.9% vs 20.0% career). But due to a high left on base rate (79.7% vs 75% career) and a sharp reduction in HR rate (7.7% vs 10.4%) has allowed Slowey to outperform his xFIP (4.60) by nearly a run. The key for Slowey will be to continue to make better pitches on the outside half of the plate, reduce his line drive rate by nearly two points and allow him to get down to around one base hit per inning and shave nearly a run off his xFIP.
#23 / Pitcher / Kansas City Royals
Oct 21, 1983
|2010 - Zack Greinke||1-7||12||12||1||0||0||0||75.0||77||35||30||9||17||60||3.60||1.25|
After a Cy Young 2009 season in which Zack Greinke went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA (3.15 xFIP), in 2010 he's having a hard time buying a victory. At 1-7 with an ERA of 3.60, the problem has mostly been a matter of run support. But there are a few other areas where Greinke has returned to earth. While batters are hitting fewer line drives (17.7% vs 19.4% in 2009), Zack has given up more fly balls (44.7$ vs 40.5%), thus more home runs (1.08 vs 0.43 HR/9, 8.5% vs 4.5% HR/FB) and he is striking out fewer batters (7.2 vs 9.5 SO/9), all resulting in over a run per game increase in Greinke's ERA. Interestingly, his 2010 numbers look similar to his 2008 totals, so it's possible 2009 was the outlier. Greinke has lost his last three starts, getting crushed at home against Colorado (8 runs in 3.1 innings), losing a tough luck 1-0 decision (6 IP) in Boston, and getting hit hard again at home against the Angels (10 hits, 4 runs in 6 IP).
Oops. I forgot about Valencia. He's starting at third instead of Harris. And I kind of expected Thome to be in there, but Delmon's been hot of late.
06/08/10 8:10 PM EDT
|Kansas City Royals||Minnesota Twins|
|Scott Podsednik - LF||Denard Span - CF|
|Jason Kendall - C||Matt Tolbert - 2B|
|David DeJesus - RF||Joe Mauer - C|
|Billy Butler - 1B||Justin Morneau - 1B|
|Jose Guillen - DH||Michael Cuddyer - RF|
|Alberto Callaspo - 3B||Jason Kubel - DH|
|Mike Aviles - 2B||Delmon Young - LF|
|Mitch Maier - CF||Danny Valencia - 3B|
|Yuniesky Betancourt - SS||Nick Punto - SS|