By this point I think we’re all aware that the Twins are playing out of their minds, this year. They’re phenomenally and astonishingly good. They’ve had breakouts from at least half a dozen young players. Honestly it feels a bit like the 2015 Royals. A bunch of guys who should have been good but never were finally figuring it all out all at the same time.
Jose Berrios is a guy who has had it figured out for a while. At age 23 he put up a 2.9 fWAR season in his first full year as a big league starter. Last year he didn’t miss a beat and collected 3.3 fWAR. So, of course, this year he’s found an entirely new level. We’re only halfway through 2019 and Berrios has already earned 2.6 fWAR. He’s dropped his ERA by a full run to 2.86. And he seems to have done it mostly by reducing the number of free passes he hands out in half. What I’m saying is that Jose Berrios has always been very good but now he’s a true ace.
Berrios has actually struggled a bit against the Royals in his career. He carries a 4.30 ERA against them and has only collected a pair of wins in 10 starts. This will be his second appearance against the boys in blue, this year. In his first one he pitched seven solid innings and allowed three runs. If he was going up against the Danny Duffy of 2016 we’d have an interesting pitching matchup on our hands. Unfortunately the Duffy of 2019 is not nearly as good.
Duffy’s strikeouts have plummeted, his walks have nearly doubled, and he’s back to throwing way too many pitches to finish of an at-bat. Duffy won’t be able to expect a lot of backup from a team that can only field half of a major league lineup, either. It’s probably going to be a very long day for the good guys.