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Series Preview: Twins to face suddenly surging Royals

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The Royals were supposed to be bad this year, but now they’re suddenly just two games behind the Twins? What the heck?

Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals
Well WHATEVER Jason Vargas, wins are a stupid pitching stat anyway.
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The last time the Twins faced the Royals was back on May 21st, when they split the first-ever straight doubleheader at Target Field. Going into that weekend, the Twins were leading the AL Central division and the Royals were scuffling, stuck in last place. At the time, Kansas City was looking like this year’s version of the 2016 Twins.

Things have changed a bit since then.

The Royals have been on a freaking tear, going on an 11-2 stretch in the month of June, and are now in third place—only two games behind the Twins. Hence, if the Royals swept the four game series against the Twins this weekend, they could potentially find themselves in first.

And I have bad news: According to the projections some site called NumberFire.com, which sends me projections before each series for some reason, there’s a good chance that could happen. According to the mysterious numbers people, the Twins have a 47.47% chance of winning the first game, 48.42% chance of winning the second, a 47.31% chance of winning the third game, and a 46.6% chance of winning the fourth game. All of those are below 50%.

But you know what? Screw that. For one thing, we’re not even entirely sure who will be pitching these games. We know Jason Vargas and Ervin Santana will face off tonight, which will of course be the pitching duel of the series. Vargas is sporting a 2.29 ERA with 70 strikeouts this season, while Santana has a 2.80 ERA with 81 strikeouts. MLB’s social media will probably call if an “Ace Off” and push that stupid Face Off graphic again, which was clever the first time they did it years ago, but seriously come on.

After Friday, things are a little more hazy. The Twins have announced that Felix Jorge will make his MLB debut and start one of the games Saturday, but we don’t know which one. I’m assuming Jose Berrios is starting the other game Saturday—but again, we don’t know who he’ll be facing. Jason Hammel will pitch one of those games for the Royals, while the other starter is TBD.

On Sunday, the assumption is that Hector Santiago will be going against Royals starter Matt Strahm. Does that name look familiar? It might, because Strahm’s the kid from West Fargo, ND who loaded the bases and helped walk in all those batters. Overall the kid is sporting 5.61 ERA on the year, so hopefully the Twins can take advantage of that.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that calculating winning percentages is hard—especially if you don’t even know which pitchers will be facing each other.

The Twins are coming into this series after just dropping three of four to the Red Sox, but the Royals didn’t have the greatest week either, dropping three of their last four as well. Let’s hope the Twins can use some of their road-magic and push out some wins here at Kauffman Stadium.

Pitching Match-Ups

Game 1: Friday, 6/30/17, 7:15 pm CT - Jason Vargas LHP vs. Ervin Santana RHP

Game 2: Saturday, 7/1/17, 1:15 pm CT - Jason Hammel RHP (?) vs. Jose Berrios RHP (?)

Game 3: Saturday, 7/1/17, 7:35 pm CT - TBD vs. Felix Jorge RHP (?)

Game 4: Sunday, 7/2/17, 1:15 pm CT - Matt Strahm vs. Hector Santiago LHP

Notes

  • The Twins can call up a 26th man for the doubleheader on Saturday, and reports seem to indicate that man will be Dillon Gee.
  • The Twins are going to be playing four games here in the span of basically 45 hours. Oh, and apparently they didn’t get to their hotel last night until about 4:00 am. Great.
  • Joe Mauer is 14-for-36 (.389) against Jason Vargas in his career—but has no home runs. The only current Twins batter with a home run off Jason Vargas is... Kennys Vargas. Weird.

Poll

How many games will the Twins win this weekend against the Royals?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    0
    (17 votes)
  • 15%
    1
    (17 votes)
  • 32%
    2
    (35 votes)
  • 26%
    3
    (29 votes)
  • 10%
    4
    (11 votes)
109 votes total Vote Now