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Series Preview: Twins pitchers look to keep rolling against Pirates

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The Twins have two games in the steel city on tap next.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is back, and we already get treated to some interleague play. Your Minnesota Twins will be visiting the Pittsburgh Pirates for two games at PNC Park. This will mark the home opener for the Pirates, so lets hope we can spoil it for them in a way we couldn’t for Baltimore. If you happen to live close enough to go, there are apparently still “lots of tickets available.”

The Pirates finished last season fourth in a top-heavy NL Central, at 75-87, and traded off some big pieces this offseason. With Andrew McCutchen now a Giant, and Gerrit Cole with the Astros, Pittsburgh seems to have embraced a bit of a youth movement. They opened the season in Detroit, and took the series from Gardy and the Tigers.

The Twins and Pirates have only faced each other 28 times in the history of baseball. The Twins hold the advantage at 16-12. Most recently, the two teams played in 2015, and split the season series, with the Twins winning two games in Pittsburgh, and the Pirates getting their revenge at Target Field. Three of the four games featured the winning team scoring eight or more runs, and I see no reason for that trend to change. None of the pitchers of record back then will be going in this series, with Ervin Santana the only one still playing for the same team. Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, and Joe Mauer(!!!) all hit home runs in that series.

Monday’s game features Lance Lynn’s official debut in a Twins uniform, against a line-up he should be very familiar with, as he’s spent his entire career in their division. Overall, the Pirate line-up has hit him fairly hard at .322/.399/.490 in 149 at bats. His opponent is Jameson Taillon. The only Twins to have faced Taillon are Jason Castro and Logan Morrison, both of who have three at bats. Morrison has two singles to his credit, while Castro has a double.

For game two, Jake Odorizzi is expected to start. He pitched very well on Opening Day for the Twins, so hopefully he can keep the trend going. In a total of three at bats against the current Pittsburg line-up, Odorizzi has given up two singles. On the bump for the Pirates is their opening day starter, Ivan Nova. The Twins have not seen a lot of him, either. Jason Castro and Joe Mauer are both two for seven against him, while Robbie Grossman is one for two, and Logan Morrison is hitless in his three at bats.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Monday, April 2nd; 12:05 PM CT — Lance Lynn RHP vs Jamison Taillon RHP

Game 2: Wednesday, April 4th; 5:05 CT — Jake Odorizzi RHP vs Ivan Nova RHP

Notes

  • This is an interleague game at a NL park, so there will be no DH.