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Minnesota Twins series preview: Trying to gain ground

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Milwaukee Brewers Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The post-break presumed continued swoon for the Royals will commence with a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins. Winners of nine of their last 11, the Twins were red-hot heading into the break, thanks in part to getting to face the Royals for three of those games. They’ll get the luxury of facing the Royals again, with the prospect of a sweep bringing them to the verge of .500 baseball.

Game times and pitching matchups as follows:

  • Friday, July 20 — 7:15 PM CDT — Kyle Gibson versus Danny Duffy (L)
  • Saturday, July 21 — 6:15 PM CDT — Lance Lynn versus Jakob Junis
  • Sunday, July 22 — 1:15 PM CDT — Jake Odorizzi versus Brad Keller

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference

Twins at Royals 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
Game 1
Kyle Gibson 19 115.2 114 23.7 46 9.6 3.42 3.79 3.81 4.07 2.0 n/a
Danny Duffy (L) 20 113.2 103 20.5 53 10.6 4.59 4.98 4.97 4.76 0.3 n/a
Game 2
Lance Lynn 18 91.1. 91 21.7 55 13.1 5.22 4.55 4.34 4.66 0.7 n/a
Jakob Junis 17 101.2 92 20.9 28 6.4 5.13 5.50 4.55 4.16 -0.3 n/a
Game 3
Jake Odorizzi 20 101.0 105 23.7 45 10.1 4.54 4.64 4.76 4.42 1.0 n/a
Brad Keller 29 63.1 36 13.5 27 10.2 3.13 3.54 4.52 4.80 1.0 n/a

Kyle Gibson is in the midst of the best season of his career. His 14.1 K-BB% is 4.4% better than any mark he’s posted in his career, finally beginning to live up to the lofty expectations he built up after a sterling minor-league career marked with multiple top-100-prospect list appearances in multiple seasons, peaking at 34 on BA’s 2011 list.

Signed to a one-year deal in the off-season, Lance Lynn’s BB% has spiked to an unsightly 13.1%. This has helped diminish the returns on a resurgent K-rate back to pre-TJS levels. Whether it’s just aging or slow recovery from injury, Lynn is on pace for his worst full season yet.

For former Royals farmhand, the points about Lance Lynn hold true here too. Both his K- and BB-rates have spiked this year. Odorizzi has enjoyed a little more success than Lynn thanks to a high but not unconscionable walk rate.

Minnesota Twins position players

Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Eddie Rosario (L) LF 401 19 64 60 6 .311 .353 .537 .376 138 3.9 2.6
Eduardo Escobar (S) 3B 376 14 41 57 1 .271 .327 .507 .350 120 2.1 1.1
Max Kepler (L) CF 366 11 45 36 3 .227 .317 .407 .314 96 1.4 1.6
Brian Dozier 2B 414 16 60 48 5 .230 .314 .423 .320 100 1.3 1.4
Jake Cave (L) RF 81 3 18 12 1 .312 .346 .558 .375 137 0.7 0.6
Joe Mauer (L) 1B 281 3 32 29 0 .273 .364 .364 .323 102 0.6 0.7
Ehire Adrianza (S) IF 216 4 25 19 4 .262 .319 .405 .312 94 0.5 0.9
Mitch Garver C 191 4 19 13 0 .249 .332 .367 .307 91 0.5 0.6
Jorge Polanco (S) SS 60 0 7 5 3 .264 .350 .377 .322 101 0.4 0.4
Willians Astudillo Util 19 0 1 3 0 .263 .263 .368 .269 64 -0.1 0.0
Robbie Grossman (S) DH 272 4 28 29 0 .256 .336 .374 .313 95 -0.4 0.2
Bobby Wilson C 108 1 8 13 0 .177 .236 .281 .229 37 -0.5 0.7

As a unit, the Twins’ position players are slashing .244/.316/.406 with a .312 wOBA and 95 wRC+. That wRC+ is tied for the 14th-best mark amongst teams. Fielding the sixth-worst defense (per FanGraphs’ defensive component of WAR) is dragging down the offensive efforts of the Twins. Most of these Twins are more than familiar, but Willians Astudillo is a delightful oddity. The short and squat third-string catcher/corner infielder/left fielder plays wherever he’ll let them. While his stature is an outlier in sport, his batting profile is pretty wild. He posted a 3.2 K% in the minors and a 3.4 BB% in the minors. The latter is positively Royalsian, but the former mark is pretty noteworthy. Clearly contact is his game.

Poll

How will the Royals fare against the Twins?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Royals sweep
    (12 votes)
  • 17%
    Royals take two of three
    (15 votes)
  • 41%
    Twins take two of three
    (36 votes)
  • 27%
    Twins sweep
    (24 votes)
87 votes total Vote Now