Minnesota Twins: Who should start Game 1 of the ALDS?
By Chris Schad
If you hopped in a Dolorean and set it back to March, odds are you would probably guess that Jose Berrios would be the obvious choice to start Game 1 of a playoff series. For the first four months of the season, you probably would have been correct as Berrios statistically put up numbers that signaled another step forward in his development.
In Berrios’ first 22 starts this season (through July 31), the right-hander was 10-5 with a 2.80 ERA. While his strikeout numbers weren’t at the same level as his career numbers with 133 punchouts 141 2/3 innings, his walks (30) and damage control were enough to keep his numbers low and give the Twins a 14-8 record in his starts.
Once the calendar flipped to August, those numbers painted a different picture. Berrios went 4-3 in his final 10 starts of the season, but those came with an ugly 5.83 ERA. To make matters worse, his BABIP jumped from .279 to .352 and his walks per nine innings went up to 3.22 from 1.9 in his first 22 starts.
As hitters also started jumping on Berrios’ aggressive style more, it also created concerns that the league had created a book on the right-hander, meaning that an aggressive approach could create success.
The good news is that Berrios has not seen the Yankees this year, which could create an element of surprise the first couple of times through the lineup. In addition, four of his five starts were considered quality starts, which means he could at least keep the Twins in the game long enough to get to their improved bullpen.