The Minnesota Twins begin an 11 game home stand this week with a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners, whom the Twins also faced last week back in Seattle. Hopefully you slept through those late-night west coast games, because the Twins lost two out of three of them, including that heartbreaking walk-off loss at the hands of a Mike Zunino dong. Thanks for that one, Brandon Kintzler.
Since then, the Mariners lost two against the Blue Jays while the Twins nearly swept the Giants in San Francisco. I think Matt Belisle and Craig Breslow must be afraid of brooms or something? Anyway, the Twins are STILL IN FIRST PLACE in the AL Central with a tenuous lead over the Cleveland Indians. Meanwhile, the Mariners are fighting the Angels for second place in the AL West, 13 games behind a very good Houston Astros club.
The Mariners as a whole are currently hitting .260/.333/.407 with 65 home runs, which is good for fourth in the league in batting average and on base percentage, but second-to-last in dongs. None of the projected Twins starters have been terribly prone to the long-ball, though; Adalberto Meija is the worst, at one per game started. Just contain that Zunino this time around. Thanks.
On the mound, Seattle’s pitchers are holding a 4.40 combined ERA, which isn’t that bad considering most of their rotation is injured. They’ve given up 89 home runs, which is second worst in the AL (only the Angels suck more at that). Batters have thus far hit .254/.320/.431 against Seattle pitching, which is fairly similar to what opponents are hitting against the Twins. Teams have also been pretty successful stealing against the Mariners, with a success rate of about 75%.
Eduardo Escobar is coming into this series riding a hot streak, hitting .500/.530/.690 with a home run, a stolen base and only one strikeout in the last week. Also hot is some guy named Joe Mauer, who’s hit .326/.412/.472 over the last 30 days and played gold glove caliber defense. What else does he have to do to make the haters happy?
Hit more dingers, duh.
Seattle is a team that the Twins should match up well against, so it would be nice to see them start to close the gap between their home and away records.
Game 1: Monday, 6/12/17, 7:10 pm CT — Adalberto “Other Bert” Mejia (1-1) LHP vs. Yovani “Lamborghini” Gallardo (2-6) RHP
Game 2: Tuesday, 6/13/17, 7:10 pm CT — Kyle Gibson (3-4) RHP vs. Christian Bergman (3-3) RHP
Game 3: WedWednesday, 6/14/17, 7:10 pm CT — Ervin Santana (8-3) RHP vs. Sam Gaviglio (2-1) RHP
Game 4: Thursday, 6/15/17, 12:10 pm CT — Jose Berrios (4-1) RHP vs. Ariel Miranda (6-2) LHP
- Justin Case Haley, Phil Hughes, Glen Perkins, and Hector Santiago all remain on the DL with no known timetable to return.
- Jorge Polanco will be returning from the bereavement list at some point during this series, which will require the Twins to make yet another roster move. Kennys Vargas could be sent back down, or maybe something more interesting.
- The Mariner’s DL is still long and star-studded. It’s technically possible Jean Segura could return for this series, but he won’t. The Mariner’s star shortstop was expected to start hitting in the cage and playing catch over the weekend as he targets a mid-July return from an ankle sprain.
- Mejia faced the Mariners on the June 7th, and gave up three runs on two hits and three walks over 5 innings. Carlos Ruiz and Mike Zunino each hit a homerun off the Twins rookie in that start—but those are the only two hits Mejia has given up to the Mariners, ever. Danny Valencia and Taylor “whats the” Motter both struck out twice, and Ben Gamel struck out once.
- Mejia’s opponent in this week’s series, Yovani Gallardo, was also on the mound June 7th, and gave up five runs and seven hits over 7 innings. Every Twin who faced him notched a hit except Robbie Grossman and Byron Buxton. Miguel Sano went the yard to left-center for three runs, and Joe Mauer, Jason Castro, and Brian Dozier have all hit Gallardo well historically.
- Kyle Gibson finally earned a quality start in his last outing, was against the Mariners on the 8th. He’s baffled most of the M’s hitters over his career, with the exceptions of Guillermo Heredia, who is 2-for-3, and Kyle Seager, who has hit .278 with three walks and five hits in 18 total at bats.
- Ervin Santana has faced the M’s 146 times in his career. Robinson Cano has hit six home runs off of him, and Nelson Cruz has hit three. Santana, of course, threw a complete-game shutout on under 100 pitches in his last outing against the Giants.
- The only Seattle batter to have faced Jose Berrios is Jarrod Dyson Sphere. He is 2-for-6 with two walks, a strikeout, and two RBI’s against the young hurler.
- Sophomore Phenom Ariel Miranda has baffled the Twins hitters, holding them to 2-of-14. Max Kepler has singled against him, and Sano hit one out of the park (I just love Miguel Sano).
- The Twins are hosting a draft party at Target field tonight. Gates open at 5:30 pm and you can watch the Twins make the first pick of the 2017 draft around 6 pm, in addition to other special programming.
- Nelson Cruz is two home runs away from 300 on his career. The Twins could give up a milestone number to a player for a second AL West team this year. On the flip side, Robinson Cano is 11 strikeouts away from 1000. That would be a more fun milestone for the Twins pitching to help deliver.
How many games do you think the Twins will win against the Mariners this series?
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