First Pitch: 1:10 pm CDT
Radio: WCCO 830, TIBN / The Wolf 102.9 FM
The Dobstache cometh.
Midway through last night’s game, the Twins announced that free agent signing Rich Hill would be pushed back to Wednesday, thereby missing the start he was supposed to make this afternoon. The oft-injured Hill appears to be fine for now (the reason for his delay was undisclosed), but the rescheduling necessitates a different arm on the...well, the hill.
One of last year’s breakout talents on the pitching side of things, Randy Dobnak’s 1.59 ERA in just under 30 innings earned him a playoff start at Yankee Stadium and a Fastpass to spot starting this season. A day into the campaign, he’s already getting the ball.
Dobnak’s success may have been a huge case of small sample size syndrome, and with an abbreviated 2020 season, we’ll need to wait even longer to see what he really has over a full summer. Still, a big reason for his initial call-up was his routine dominance of the minor leagues, where his ERAs hung around the mid- to low-2.00s, and he seemed to forgo any sort of adjustment period when ascending levels. The same held true once he reached the majors.
Dobnak spent much of the stretch run as an opener, and it’s unclear how quickly Rocco Baldelli intends to turn to the pen today. One can imagine, with his penchant for rest days and equal rotation, that Baldelli will want to be ginger with his starting staff, but if Randy can get through a solid six innings on an economical 80 or so, we could be in good shape.
On the flip side, the White Sox are rolling out someone with a bit more pedigree. A Cy Young winner five years ago, Dallas Keuchel is the veteran complement to Chicago’s younger pitching prospects. An above-average age-30 season led Keuchel to a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves, where he matched his ‘18 ERA almost exactly. That, in turn, led into a three-year deal on the south side (with an option for 2023.)
Keuchel’s major strength is in his ability to induce the groundball - his GB% routinely tops 60%, a mark most qualified starters will never reach. As a result, a big key of Keuchel’s game is the defense behind him, and last year’s infield included a group of solid defenders: Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson, and our own Josh Donaldson.
Will guys like Leury Garcia and Tim Anderson be able to make Keuchel look good this year, too?
|Mitch Garver - C||Tim Anderson - SS|
|Josh Donaldson - 3B||Yoan Moncada - 3B|
|Nelson Cruz - DH||Jose Abreu - 1B|
|Jorge Polanco - SS||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Miguel Sano - 1B||Eloy Jimenez - LF|
|Eddie Rosario - LF||Nicky Delmonico - RF|
|Marwin Gonzalez - RF||Luis Robert - CF|
|Max Kepler - CF||James McCann - C|
|Ehire Adrianza - 2B||Leury Garcia - 2B|
|Randy Dobnak - RHP||Dallas Keuchel - LHP|
The Sox are nearly identical today, swapping out only Yasmani Grandal for James McCann, with two shifts behind the backstop in a 24-hour period on the schedule.
The Twins, however, go with Garver again - their changes include bringing in Adrianza for Arraez, and giving Marwin Gonzalez his first start, pushing Kepler to center and Cave out of the lineup.
GO TWINS GO!