Tonight the Kansas City Royals come to town and throw Bruce Chen on the mound (5-2, 3.26ERA) to face off against the Twins’ Francisco Liriano (5-7, 5.06ERA). The Twins faced Chen earlier this season (29APR) and were able to score three and chase him from the mound in the 6th, but the Twins bullpen gave up a couple of runs in the eighth and the Royals got the W. But as everyone in Twins Territory knows, the Twins from have come a long ways since our early season woes.
The Twins have used the All-Star break to rest and recover and when they take the field tonight against the Royals there will be a couple of familiar faces returning to the club, Delmon Young and Trevor Plouffe . The guys who have been coming up from Rochester have been a very important part of the Twins recent winning ways. whether they will be regular big league players coming off the DL with a rehab assignment or fresh faces coming up from the farm, the call-ups from Rochester will need to continue to give our hometown team the edge they need to make a run at the AL Central crown.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the numbers behind today’s game after the break..
All-Star Michael Cuddyer is hitting .313 at home this season and .310 during night games, so I’m expecting @MCuddy5 to start off the second half of the season with continued success.
Alexi Casilla who is hitting .255/.318.361 (BA/OPB/SLG) plays considerably better at home where he is hitting .315/.370/.435. Whether he’s at 2B or SS I think it’s safe to say that Casilla will be getting on base
Liriano, however, is not a homer, sporting a laughable 6.99ERA at home this season where he is 2-3. Putting a 6.99 to shame, we’ve got Jose Mijares sporting a 13.50 through six innings of work at Target Field. Throw in Matt Capps and his three blown saves at home this season and all of a sudden I’m starting to get scared. Lucky for the Twins both Joe Nathan and Glen Perkins are sporting identical 1.69ERAs at home this season.
Chen (2.82ERA in away games and 2-0 this season when starting night games) has pitched four times against MN as a starter. In each appearance he has given up one less run than the previous outing, giving up 6 in his first battle with MN and only 3 the last go around. If this trend continues and Chen can limit the Twins bats to two runs, Liriano and the Twins pen are going to have to put together a gem themselves, or hope that when KC brings in their relievers that the Twins bats start to pop. It would be nice to see the Twins avenge the April come from behind victory by the Royals in Chen’s last start against the Twins.
The final nugget: Ron Gardenhire’s middle name is Clyde. The Twins have played only 39 of their 81 home games, while the Indians, White Sox and Tigers have all played at least 45. It’s going to take work to leap-frog all three teams, but with the Twins reputation as a second half team under “Clyde” and their ability to win at home, it’s not just a pipe dream.