The Minnesota Twins had an off day to prepare for a four-game series with the Kansas City Royals. In many years this would give positive feelings for Twins fans, knowing the team has had few successful seasons in the last 20. This time, though, Minnesota was looking to rebound from being swept at the hands of the Royals just last week in Kansas City.
The Twins got back to form and won two of the first three games over the weekend, winning 4-2 on both Saturday and Sunday, while losing 4-2 in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Odorizzi Rounding Back
Jake Odorizzi got the start in the first game against the Royals on Saturday. The 2020 format for doubleheaders calls for two seven-inning games, so the pitching statistics will be a bit different for the first two games.
Either way, Odorizzi didn’t have a terrible outing, or one as rocky as his first back after recovering from his back injury. He made it through four innings and gave up three hits for two runs. He also recorded six strikeouts on his 79 pitches that afternoon.
While it may not be ace numbers, or top-of-the-rotation numbers just yet, it’s a good sign for a Twins team in desperate need of reliable starting pitching early in a short season.
Cruz Continuing .300-Plus Batting
In Saturday’s two games, Nelson Cruz was one of the few sources of offense, accounting for three of Minnesota’s six runs between the two games with a two-run homer in the first game and a solo shot in the second.
After a string of weeks where much of the Twins’ hitting went cold, Cruz had a stretch of 11 games without a home run. He now has three in his last seven games and has continued to hold his batting average around the mid-.300s. During the Milwaukee series last week, Cruz’s OPS dipped below 1.000, but after a few games against the Royals he is back up to 1.036.
Much like starting pitching being paramount to racking up as many wins as possible in the thick of the season, the Twins need Cruz to be a reliable anchor, batting either third or fourth in the lineup each game.
Another Game, Another Win for Randy Dobnak
Randy Dobnak continued his unexpected rise to success in the Twins’ rotation this year with a Sunday afternoon victory against the Royals. He got through 5 1/3 innings and allowed three hits and two home runs for the only two runs against him that day. While he had an MLB-best 0.90 ERA heading into that start, his two earned runs raised that statistic to 1.40 on the season.
He has a 4-1 record and has been the best starter for the Twins this season, with Kenta Maeda closely following behind as the No. 2.
His next start could very well come against these same Royals as the Twins visit them again at the end of the week for a three-game series after another series with the Milwaukee Brewers, this time at Target Field.
What’s at Stake?
Minnesota needs to get the series victory over Kansas City in Monday’s finale. As the Twins’ games against inferior teams dwindle, they need to take advantage of them while they are present. Every victory against the likes of Kansas City and Detroit is imperative, and the team cannot afford another three-game losing streak to either of these teams, much less a series split this weekend.