clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Royals series preview: The Minnesota Twins

New, comments

Stepping into the fire

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
Buxton flying
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

These guys. Again.

At seven games over .500, the Twins are just a game behind the Yankees for the top wild card spot. Given the resurgence of Byron Buxton, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that the Twins might host a playoff game.

Game times and matchups are as follows:

  • Friday, September 1, 7:10 PM CDT - Jason Hammel versus Dillon Gee
  • Saturday, September 2, 6:10 PM CDT - TBD versus Kyle Gibson
  • Sunday, September 3, 1:10 PM CDT - TBD versus Ervin Santana

Royals at Twins pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Jason Hammel 26 149.1 116 17.8 41 6.3 4.76 4.47 5.00 4.72 1.6 1.9
Dillon Gee 6 22.2 21 23.3 3 3.3 3.18 3.53 4.34 3.68 0.4 0.5
TBD
Kyle Gibson 23 122.1 90 16.3 52 9.4 5.59 5.05 4.56 4.87 0.6 -0.3
TBD
Ervin Santana 27 176.0 146 20.2 57 7.9 3.27 4.57 4.72 4.57 2.4 3.9

If the Royals weren’t playing musical chairs with their rotation, the pitchers the Twins are throwing out there could play into the Royals’ favor. Old friend Dillon Gee makes his third start for Minnesota. He’s looked good in a small sample, but no one has any illusions about him being anything other than a back-of-the-rotation guy. Kyle Gibson is still not good, so he’ll probably give the Royals nightmares. Only Ervin Santana has been particularly good. Of course, the Royals are throwing out Jason Hammel and guys of Eric Skoglund’s or Onelki Garcia’s ilk. Hammel’s been fine, but for a scuffling team, this is not how you’d like to face a team who you could conceivably gain ground on in a playoff race.

Minnesota Twins position players

Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Brian Dozier 2B 578 26 75 74 14 .263 .349 .475 .349 115 3.2 3.1
Byron Buxton CF 402 13 52 38 24 .249 .310 .401 .306 86 2.8 4.4
Miguel Sanó 3B* 475 28 75 77 0 .267 .356 .514 .365 126 2.4 2.5
Eddie Rosario (L) LF 468 20 64 58 5 .292 .331 .502 .349 116 1.8 1.0
Joe Mauer (L) 1B 478 6 56 52 2 .296 .379 .406 .344 112 1.8 2.6
Max Kepler (L) RF 482 17 59 59 5 .247 .315 .435 .320 96 1.3 1.8
Jason Castro (L) C* 342 7 40 36 0 .229 .327 .370 .307 87 1.0 1.9
Jorge Polanco (S) SS 417 9 47 54 10 .255 .303 .405 .301 83 0.9 1.5
Chris Gimenez C 184 6 19 14 1 .208 .330 .370 .311 89 0.7 0.3
Eduardo Escobar (S) IF 375 12 40 48 4 .251 .313 .398 .304 85 0.7 0.4
Ehire Adrianza (S) Util 138 1 17 20 8 .265 .328 .376 .300 82 0.6 0.4
Robbie Grossman (S) OF* 380 7 50 35 2 .243 .367 .363 .328 101 0.4 0.6
Kennys Vargas (S) DH 221 9 29 34 0 .246 .303 .429 .311 89 0.2 0.6
Mitch Garver C 25 0 5 0 0 .286 .400 .524 .389 143 0.2 0.2
Zack Granite (L) OF 76 0 7 7 2 .246 .316 .275 .269 61 -0.2 -0.1
*denotes injured

It took a while, but Byron Buxton looks to have righted the ship in 2017. He’s been on fire, but right now he’s day-to-day with a right-hand contusion suffered while swinging awkwardly. While Buxton is day-to-day, Miguel Sanó, Robbie Grossman, and Jason Castro are on the mend on the DL. Castro could conceivably return at the end of the series, but an activation next week is more likely. As a unit the Twins are slashing .258/.333/.426 with a .326 wOBA and 99 wRC+. Their position players have been the 11th-best unit in baseball, worth 18.0 fWAR.

Poll

How will the Royals fare in Minnesota?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Royals sweep
    (20 votes)
  • 16%
    Royals take two of three
    (26 votes)
  • 47%
    Twins take two of three
    (76 votes)
  • 23%
    Twins sweep
    (38 votes)
160 votes total Vote Now

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference through action on Wednesday, August 30.

This series preview brought to you by StubHub.

Whether you’re a baseball junkie or casual fan, games are better at the ballpark. Grab seats at StubHub and be part of the action at Kauffman Stadium. And, download the StubHub app to choose the perfect seats with 360* views from your section.