Before the season started the Twins were expected to strongly compete for the AL Central Division or at least a Wild Card spot. To start the year they are 9-15 but they proved last night that they’re still a very dangerous team. The Royals will look to short circuit any sort of losing streak as they take the field today.
The Twins will send free agent acquisition Matt Shoemaker to the mound to try and complete the series victory. Shoemaker had a very promising rookie campaign in 2014 when he went 16-4 while starting 20 games in a total of 27 appearances. Things haven’t gone as well for him since. He’s now 34 years old, on his third team, and carrying his worst ERA, yet, at 5.49 in four starts. Even in his better days, he’s rarely been good against the Royals; he is 0-3 in five starts with a 9.41 ERA and 39 hits allowed in only 22 innings pitched. The sole exception to this is when he pitched six innings against the Royals in the second game of the 2014 ALDS with only an unearned run scored against him before his Angels lost in extra innings.
The Royals will counter with Danny Duffy. Duffy, who many wished would start the year in the bullpen, has a remarkable 0.39 ERA in four starts so far this year. The only bad thing is that he hasn’t pitched past the sixth inning, yet. He has already accrued more WAR than he did all of last season. Duffy has generally been good against the Twins in his career, he’s 8-3 with a 3.21 ERA in 22 starts and 4 relief appearances against them. Last year he faced them three times in a row in August and while his first started didn’t go well he only gave up one earned run in five innings each time while striking out more than a batter per inning. The Twins have a terrifying top of their batting order and Danny Duffy is going to really need to be on top of things today if he’s going to help Kansas City even the series.
The Twins have struggled this year but last night’s victory marked their second blowout win in a row. While the Royals have probably been a bit fortunate to come up with a winning record while scoring fewer runs than they’ve allowed the Twins are on the opposite end of that spectrum, having scored more runs than they’ve given up but winning only slightly more than one-third of their games. The Royals will need to play excellent baseball if they don’t want to see both teams even their luck out simultaneously.