With a record of 19-15, the Minnesota Twins are first place in the AL Central—but want to know who’s also in first place? The Colorado Rockies. At 24-15, the Rockies are not only leading the NL West, but also have clearly had many fewer rain-outs than the Twins.
That may all end tonight, as the Rockies will look to face the Twins at a pretty wet Target Field.
If not rained-out (and I actually doubt it will be, since tomorrow’s forecast looks even worse), Phil Hughes will take on Kyle Freeland, who has a 2.94 ERA and 26 strikeouts for some reason. The Twins have never faced before Freeland before. In fact, the Twins have never faced the other two scheduled starters for the Rockies—German Marquez and Tyler Chatwood—either.
(Okay, I lied. Jason Castro has had two at-bats against Chatwood, but he’s still waiting for that first hit.)
The elephant in the room here, though, is why the heck are the Rockies so good!? They ended last year below .500 with a 75-87 record, which still earned them third place in the NL West, but isn’t exactly something to brag about.
The answer is that pitching that the Twins have (almost) zero experience with. While the Rockies hitters have only racked up a combined 2.9 fWAR this season (24th best in the majors), the Rockies pitchers have a combined 5.6 fWAR (3rd best in the majors). The aforementioned Freeland has been their best starter, and closer Greg Holland has been pretty solid shutting down games with his 1.06 ERA.
However, Marquez (4.88 ERA) and Chatwood (5.25 ERA) have had their fair share of struggles this year. If the Twins hitters can figure them out, this could easily be another series win for the Twins.
Dear Miguel Sano: Home runs, please. Thank you.
Game 1: Tuesday, 5/16, 7:10 pm CT - Phil Hughes RHP vs. Kyle Freeland LHP
Game 2: Wednesday, 5/17, 7:10 pm CT - Ervin Santana RHP vs. German Marquez RHP
Game 3: Thursday, 5/18, 12:00 pm CT - Jose Berrios RHP vs. Tyler Chatwood RHP
- Four Rockies batters have home runs off Ervin Santana—Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, Carlos Gonzalez, and Mark Reynolds.
- Mark Reynolds also has two career home runs against Phil Hughes.
- In fact, Reynolds already has 12 home runs so far this season? Nine of them have come at the dong-friendly Coors Field, though.
- Obviously, none of the Rockies have ever faced the freshly called-up Jose Berrios.
- This series marks only the second time the Rockies have come to Target Field. The last time was back in 2010, the stadium’s first year.
- Tonight will be LaTroy Hawkins’s TV broadcast debut! Like Torii Hunter did earlier this year against the Tigers, LaTroy will be filling in for Bert Blyleven as the color analyst.
- You can read Purple Row’s preview here. They do not think highly of our pitching, which is understandable, but the Twins have also done a lot of stuff to improve the pitching since the beginning of the year (like call up Berrios, demote Kyle Gibson, etc.).
How many games against the Rockies do you think the Twins will win this week?
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