There are a lot of things I can, and will, say about the Twins’ first series at home this year, but the one thing I know for sure is that it will be very, very cold. Thursday’s projected high is 38 degrees, and that’s the warmest forecast game time temperature of the series. One advantage to the cold is that the balls might stay in the park a bit more than they do when the weather is warmer.
Facing the Mariners, that forecast could be important. Last season, in four games at Target Field, the Mariners put up 29 combined runs. Fortunately, seven of those came in a “magic Gibson run support” game, and the Twins plated 20 of their own runners. Another 14 came in a game the Twins lost, and the two teams ended up splitting the series. For the 2017 season, the Mariners defeated the Twins three games to four. So far in 2018, the Mariners have done fairly well, owning a 3-2 record.
The Twins will be sending Kyle Gibson to the mound for the home opener. He was able to earn two wins against the Mariners last season, but was hit fairly hard while doing so. His line against Seattle is .276/.315/.403, and Nelson Cruz [Editor’s Note: Cruz has hit the DL with a sprained ankle], Jean Segura, and former Tiger Andrew Romine each have hit a home run. Romine has been particularly good against Gibby, with an OPS of .921 in 16 at bats, which will make that a match up to watch. Trying to spoil the day for Minnesota will be James Paxton, who had a break out season in 2017. Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar have both taken him deep, and Miguel Sano leads all Twins with three total hits; a single, a double; and a triple.
Saturday’s game will be started by Jose Berrios, who threw a complete game in his first outing of the season, and very nearly twirled a one-hitter. He has seen the Seattle line-up a total of 25 times, and held them to .240/.269/.280 in that small sample. Mike Leake starts against him. Leake has also seen the Twins a total of 25 times, but hasn’t fared quite so well. The home team has hit .400/.444/.600, with Jason Castro leading the charge at three-for-seven. Brian Dozier also has a dong off of Leake.
The final start of the series goes to Lance Lynn. Unlike the Twins’ other starters, Lynn had a rough season debut, and will be looking to rebound. He has not pitched to many members of the Mariners, and only Jean Segura (10-for-29) has done much damage. Dee Gordon has also hit two doubles off Lynn. Opposing Lynn will be Marco Gonzales, who has never faced a Twins batter.
Game 1: Thursday, April 5th; 3:10 PM CT — Kyle Gibson RHP vs James Paxton LHP
Game 2: Saturday, April 7th; 1:10 PM CT — Jose Berrios RHP vs Mike Leake RHP
Game 3: Sunday, April 8th; 1:10 PM CT — Lance Lynn RHP vs Marco Gonzales LHP
- Dee Gordon, the Mariners’ new center fielder, is the older brother of Twins’ prospect Nick Gordon.
- If the weather impacts a game, assume they will try as hard as possible to make it up now, as this is the Mariners’ only trip to Target Field. The Twins do travel to Seattle for three games in late May.
- 44-year old Ichiro Suzuki is back with Seattle, so for you Ichiro fans, this might be your last chance to see him play live [Editor’s Note: I can’t even explain how much I love Ichiro and how much he means to me and my love of baseball, but you should probably read this amazing article in any case.]
How many games do the Twins win against the Mariners?
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