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Gamethread: Twin Billing in The Twin Cities

Featuring at least one rule change that I can’t imagine sticks around past this year.

Ian Kennedy throws a pitch
Ian Kennedy will get his first start since 2018
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Since last night’s game was rained out the Royals will play a doubleheader, today. But this is 2020 so it’s not that simple.

Today’s contests will last only seven innings because of a new rule in place for double-headers in 2020. While some of the rules seem likely to survive this year and I’d like for others to make it as well, this one almost certainly won’t survive past COVID-19. But it should make for some interesting strategies while it’s here.

The Royals will be officially using an opener for the first time in their history as Ian Kennedy gets the “start” in today’s first game ahead of Jakob Junis acting as bulk man. He isn’t the guy you’ve all been asking for as the opener and defies the trend of using one of your more reliable relievers in such a role, however at least he won’t be used in any high leverage innings? Danny Duffy will start the nightcap; the Twins will counter with Jake Odorizzi and José Berríos respectively.

The temporary double-header format would seem to slightly favor teams with bullpens that lack depth but have high-quality relievers at the very top - at least compared to the original. That probably better describes the Royals right now than the Twins who have struggled with consistency in their bullpen. The Royals, however, have between three and five guys who have been pretty reliable.

In any case, we’ll see how both experiments - MLB’s with double-headers and Matheny’s with an opener - work out, today.