Minnesota: Amid all the changes, the Twins are hitting the White Sox with, statistically, their best pitchers this weekend, minus maybe their rookie Jose Berrios. With Santana coming off the DL and back into the rotation, the Twins finally have a staff leader again. What’s needed for an over-worked, under-staffed bullpen is for the starters to begin to eat up some innings.
With veterans Nolasco and Santana pitching the first two games of the weekend, they must set the tone for the rest of the month. The Twins were able to win last year’s season series at US Cellular Field, taking 4 of the 6 games played in Chicago.
One player the Twins absolutely need to spark the team, Brian Dozier, finally caught fire against the Astros. He was 6-11 in the series and hit his 4th home run. Having Danny Santana leading off seems to have relieved some of the pressure for Dozier. On the year, his splits of (.260 AVG/.777 OPS) when batting second in the lineup are much greater than his (.139 AVG/.512 OPS) when he’s the lead-off hitter.
Notes: Manager Paul Molitor rearranged his starting rotation after Santana’s activation. Berrios pitched last Monday in a win over the Astros, but Molitor wanted to put Santana back in the #1 slot up against Chris Sale in Saturday’s game. With Phil Hughes struggling, the rotation will be Santana, Duffey, Berrios, Hughes, and Nolasco. That gives Berrios an entire week’s rest before his next start Monday against Baltimore at Target Field.
Minnesota Twins fans were excited with the stuff Nick Burdi brought to the mound during Spring Training and were hoping he would be one of the relievers Minnesota would promote if anyone struggled. Alas, he’s injured once again, as AA Chattanooga just placed him on the 7-day disabled list with a bone bruise.