With Opening Day still postponed, we take a look at the Minnesota Twins and their Opening Day opponent to see who would have had the upper hand.
No professional baseball happening now, leaving Minnesota Twins players and their fans with nothing to do but watch old baseball games on television, play baseball video games, and read up on as much content as they can.
With that in mind, we decided to predict who would have won the first game of the season between the Minnesota Twins and the Oakland Athletics. We’ll compare lineups, starting pitchers, intangibles and more. With that in mind, let’s get into it.
Minnesota Twins Lineup vs. Oakland Athletics Lineup
The Twins lineup only got better in the offseason, with the addition of Josh Donaldson bulking up an already strong Twins lineup headlined by Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, and Jorge Polanco. Every player in the lineup can hit, whether it’s Luis Arraez at the top or Byron Buxton at the bottom.
The Athletics lineup is also deep, headlined by power hitters Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. The Matts are joined by Marcus Semien, Ramon Laureano, and Mark Canha, three players who had breakout seasons last year.
There are still several question marks in the highly talented Athletics lineup, with several highly-regarded prospects taking on bigger roles, so the Twins have the big advantage for now, as most of their lineup is solidified. Advantage: Twins
Minnesota Twins’ Jose Berrios vs. Oakland Athletics’ Mike Fiers
The Athletics didn’t name an Opening Day starter due to the season being suspended, but Fiers started Opening Day last year and had a strong case to start this year as well. Fiers finished 2019 with a 15-4 record, a 3.90 ERA and 102 strikeouts. The numbers look decent, but Fiers was far from perfect over 184.2 innings
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Jose Berrios had a much stronger season, going 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA and 195 strikeouts over 200.1 innings. Berrios’ WAR of 3.3 was better than Fiers’ 3.0, and Berrios held Oakland to a 2.53 ERA over two games last year. This is a close one, but the slight edge goes to Berrios and the Twins. Advantage: Twins
Minnesota Twins Bullpen vs. Oakland Athletics Bullpen
The next competition is an easy win for the Twins as they have one of the deepest bullpens in baseball, with Taylor Rogers, Trevor May, Tyler Duffey, and Sergio Romo leading a group that is always tough to face.
The Oakland bullpen isn’t weak, but it’s not a strength, with former Twin Liam Hendriks as the team’s closer. Hendriks, who saved 25 games, is surrounded by former studs like Joakim Soria and Lou Trivino who can still throw well, but are getting up there in age.
This isn’t really a close matchup, as the depth of the Twins’ bullpen is scary good. The A’s put together bullpen, but it’s not a group that you’re guaranteed to finish the game right. This one goes to the Twins. Advantage: Twins
Minnesota Twins’ Rocco Baldelli vs. Oakland Athletics’ Bob Melvin
This is a much tighter competition than the bullpen, with the reigning American League Manager of the Year in Rocco Baldelli going up against an eight year veteran with over 730 wins to his name.
The slight edge might go to Baldelli in this one, as skill beats experience, but Bob Melvin is still an excellent manager. This is a toss-up that could go either way with both teams in excellent shape as far as managing goes. Advantage: Tie
Minnesota Twins vs. Oakland Athletics: Intangibles
The Athletics have a huge advantage in this one, given that the game will be played on the West Coast at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The stadium will be full of Athletics fans, and though there will be some Twins fans, the stadium will be mostly green.
The Twins have a bit more chemistry, given that the team is almost exactly the same as last year with some minor changes, but this also runs true for the Athletics. For that reason, Oakland wins this round. Advantage: Athletics
With the Twins winning three of the five categories and tying the fifth one, it looks like the Twins would’ve been Opening Day winners for the fourth consecutive year. With a better lineup, starting pitcher, and bullpen, the Twins should have taken care of business, but the Athletics are always outperforming their roster.