If you thought the last series was meaningless, then watch out for this weekend as the Minnesota Twins come to town to close out the 2019 season for the Royals. The next meaningful game for the Twins doesn’t come until Friday October 4th, so be prepared for some short outings from starters just to get them one last bit of work and a lot of relievers and reserves playing. It’ll likely be very spring training-ish this weekend, so it’s hard to say a whole lot about the series since there aren’t many games played with so little on the line. The Twins are locked into the third best record in the American League which will likely send them to Yankee Stadium, where they’ve struggled immensely, especially in the postseason. It’s a chance to either slay a dragon or waste one of the best seasons in franchise history. My money is on the latter, but hey, stranger things have happened.
Meet the Twins
Twins vs. Royals Tale of the Tape
|Highest fWAR||Jorge Soler, 3.2||Max Kepler, 4.4|
Twins Projected Lineup
Twins Projected Bench
|LaMonte Wade Jr.||OF||61||.229||.393||.438||18.0%||11.5%||126||0.3|
Twins Key Relievers
Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday September 27th - 7:40pm
Jose Berrios will get the call in the first game and will likely throw some pitches before leaving the game. He didn’t take the step forward this year that I expected, which sort of makes me wonder if he ever will. But even if this is what he is, it’s plenty good. He already has a career high in innings pitched, but I suppose there’s a chance they might try to push him to get to 200. It seems shortsighted and doesn’t seem like something Baldelli would do, but you never know. It’s been a rough go for him really since the start of August. After giving up five runs on eight hits over six innings to the Royals last weekend, he’s now posted a 6.15 ERA in 52.2 innings the last two months. He’s still striking out a good amount and limiting walks reasonably well, but he’s been hit hard by the home run and by hits in general with 62 allowed in that time. He needs to get right for the Twins to have a real chance in the playoffs.
Eric Skoglund gets one last chance to make an impression on the Royals heading into the offseason. Given the lineup he’ll be facing for at least part of the game, I can’t assume that’ll be a good impression. He did face the Twins on Friday last week and managed to get out of it with pretty minimal damage, allowing just two runs on three hits in four innings. He’s amazingly thrown 18 innings this year with eight walks and two strikeouts. You almost have to try to be that ineffective. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ned Yost leaves him in for some tough situations if they arise because there’s literally nothing to play for, so it’s a perfect opportunity to evaluate against top competition.
Saturday September 28th - 6:15pm
Martin Perez seems like a likely odd man out for the Twins postseason staff, though a good start might at least make them think about it given their lack of options to start games. It’s been a tough year because, as we’ve talked about plenty of times this season, he started off with such promise and then the season really got away from him. He gave up five runs on eight hits in just 2.1 innings last Sunday against the Royals and now since May 12th, he’s posted a 5.93 ERA with 143 hits allowed in 118.1 innings. He’s walking too many, not striking out enough and just generally giving up too many hits. It’s a bad combination. Since August 31st, it’s worse. He has a 9.15 ERA in that time with 35 hits allowed in 20.2 innings. Opponents have hit .376/.412/.591. So yeah, he needs this opportunity even if it’s just to show a potential suitor he could be worth a flyer as a free agent this offseason.
There was a time when I thought that Sparkman might be okay in the back of a rotation. I mean he throws hard enough and throws strikes, so there’s a place for that starting every fifth day to eat up some innings. I no longer believe that. I do still think he can work as a middle reliever, which has value, especially in today’s game. He’s allowed a home run in seven straight starts and has recorded more than 15 outs in exactly one of them. Since moving into the rotation full time at the end of May, he’s pitched 106.1 innings with a 6.86 ERA and 28 home runs allowed. He’s also only struck out 60 batters in that time, which is, well, not good. He did have one very good start against the Twins in Kansas City, so all hope is not lost. He went seven in that one and gave up just one run on five hits. That’s when I still thought he might be okay in the back of a rotation. Things have changed a lot since then.
Sunday September 29th - 2:15pm
The Twins end things with former Royal, Jake Odorizzi on the hill. He left his last outing with a tight left hamstring, so we’ll see if they risk it in this one or if they want to try to risk it to see how he is. This season has been a good one for Jake. He doesn’t give a lot of innings because the Twins manage him really well, but he’s been outstanding with a ton of strikeouts, limited hits and limited home runs, which might be the best part of his game in baseball in 2019. He’s recorded an out in the seventh exactly twice this season and never one in the eighth. Those two games are the only two times all year he’s even pitched in the seventh, so even in a regular game, he wouldn’t be likely to be out there too terribly long. In this one, I’d be they get three or four out of him and then go to the bullpen with the team’s mind on New York and figuring out a way to topple the Yankees.
The Royals put a bowtie on their season with Jorge Lopez, which, yeah, that fits. Some guys getting shut down for the season have given him a last chance at starting, and it wasn’t looking too bad until he faced these Twins his last time out. Seven runs on eight hits over 2.1 innings later and whatever good feelings were out there surrounding him were gone. Prior to the disaster, he was 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 22 innings over four starts, so it’s probably not fair to completely erase the positives, but that was pretty ugly, so it’s easy to do. The Twins may not completely be in this game and a pitcher like Lopez can take advantage of that with his good stuff, so maybe we’ll see something fun. Probably not, but maybe!
The Twins enter needing to win one of three to get to 100 wins on the season, which will earn them the distinction as the third best division winner in the American League. I think they’ll get that and maybe one more, but this is one of the toughest series all year to figure because who knows how they play it? What do you think happens?
Who takes this last series of the year?
This poll is closed
Royals Win Two of Three
Twins Win Two of Three