Minnesota Twins vs Seattle Mariners Weekend Series Preview
Minnesota: The biggest problem the Twins have this series will be keeping runners off the bases with both Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco scheduled to pitch in the 3 game series. While Hughes settled down for a quality start last time out against the Blue Jays, he did put the Twins in an early 3-0 with back-to-back lead-off home runs and a run-scoring double.
Hughes escaped unscathed on the scoreboard, but not for the lack of Toronto’s bats. They scorched line drives all over the field, but between fine defensive plays, and a lot of “at ’em balls”, Hughes cobbled together a line of 6 IP / 8 H / 3 R / 1 BB / 0 K. The zero strikeouts was the worrisome number. Hopefully, now ten days removed from seemingly pulling himself with a 2-1 lead over Detroit, Hughes has built up his arm strength once again after so many short starts.
As for Nolasco, he is finally injury-free this year, and shakes off the bad starts with a shrug – ready to take the ball when it’s handed to him. But with his results this year, should he be allowed to? Never one to eat innings for the Twins, his pitches/start is always in the high 90’s, yet he rarely escapes the sixth inning. During his last five outings, he hasn’t lasted more than 6 innings in any start.
The Twins offense has been awake lately, averaging 5 runs per game against the Royals. They were carried in most part by the hitters like Robbie Grossman, Trevor Plouffe, and by the return of Eduardo Escobar. The middle of the lineup still needs to produce.
While Miguel Sano had a game-winning home run on Wednesday, it capped a week where he’s scuffled to just get 3 hits in 21 at bats (.143 AVG). Eduardo Nunez is the latest Twin to suffer the jinx of being promoted to the lead-off spot.
Next: Twins MiLB Weekly: Walker Shows Off Power
Prior to his “promotion”, Nunez was hitting .331, the only Minnesota Twins batter over .300. He saw it dip 30 points prior to a 3-hit day on Wednesday from the #1 spot. Being the only Twins to regularly reach base all season, plus having his speed on the bases, makes Nunez the most viable lead-off hitter for Minnesota at this time.