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Game 8: Mariners at Twins

Michael “M.P. Biggz” takes the mound this afternoon.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

First Pitch: 1:10 pm CDT

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: WCCO 830, “Audacy,” The Wolf 102.9 FM, TIBN

If I had said to you — at more or less any point over the last ten years — “the Twins are running out a starting pitcher with a sub-2.70 ERA — guess who it is” — you would have a very limited pool from which to guess.

So far in 2021, it’s a different story.

We’re on stop three of our second trip through the team’s starting rotation, and all five hurlers can lay claim to a shiny sub-2.70 ERA. In Michael Pineda’s case, an earned run has yet to be scratched across with the big righty on the mound.

Large Mikey is back out their again today, facing the team that originally signed him as an IFA in 2005. He was a rookie-year All-Star for the M’s, his only season in Seattle before a trade to New York and a slew of injuries kept him out of action for three years.

On the other bump — which, just for clarity, will be the same bump that Pineda is on — it’s lefty Yusei Kikuchi, who got ten San Francisco Giants to go down on strikes last week, while inducing a fair amount of chase hacks. Kikuchi added a cutter in 2020, which has since become his predominant pitch; he’ll pair it with a fastball and mix in some sliders and changes.

Today's Lineups

Mitch Haniger - RF Jorge Polanco - 2B
Ty France - DH Kyle Garlick - LF
Kyle Seager - 3B Nelson Cruz - DH
Jose Marmolejos - 1B Byron Buxton - CF
Luis Torrens - C Mitch Garver - C
Dylan Moore - 2B Max Kepler - RF
Taylor Trammell - CF Miguel Sano - 1B
Sam Haggerty - LF Andrelton Simmons - SS
J.P. Crawford - SS Luis Arraez - 3B
Yusei Kikuchi - LHP Michael Pineda - RHP

Even with Brent Rooker and Josh Donaldson working through IL stints, the Twins have been able to keep most of their talent in the lineup. Nelson Cruz and Byron Buxton are hitting back-to-back, and perhaps the only non-A-squad bat — Kyle Garlick — is hitting .417 entering the ballgame.