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Know Your Enemy: Minnesota Twins

Put a Target store at Target Field you cowards

Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

First up for this series: what does Senior Mascot Correspondent Addy think of the Twins mascot:

Kids say the darndest things.

How’s it going?

So far, the Twins have won one game against the White Sox this season. However, that happened before half the White Sox made friends with the injured list and the Bench Sox came into play. They also were in the crosshairs of the weird unwritten rules “position player pitching” 3-0 swing from earlier in the season with Yermín Mercedes. The Twins are 14-16 against the division and are third in the AL in home runs (111). Nelson Cruz has 17 of those because I think he sold his soul or something to be this good at 40.

As a reminder of why PECOTA is basura, the Twins were the AL Central faves this season, yet again. They didn’t make many offseason changes between 101 wins in 2019 and today, so it’s reasonable to think they would extend the success (they were champs in 2020 and booted from the playoffs yet again). They’re third in the AL Central and 11 12 out of first. They’ve been on pace to finish 65-97, and they were projected by SportsLine to win 71. The Twins are 16-14 in their last 30 and 16-20 away from home. They’re also 23-26 vs. RHP and 10-17 vs. LHP. Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, Luke Farrell, Cody Stashak, Randy Dobnak, Michael Pineda, and Devin Smeltzer are are riding the injured list.

In news to surprise exactly no one, Cruz is leading the Twins in everything offense: home runs (17), batting average (.299), and RBIs (42). José Berríos is leading in ERA at 3.41, wins (seven), and strikeouts (96). Good thing we’re facing both of them this week.

Basically, they’re still on fire and unless they become absolutely amazing playing historically well for the rest of the season — they need to go .667 from here just to win 90 games — they aren’t making the playoffs.

Pitching Matchups: The usual suspects

Today is going to be Kenta Maeda vs. Lucas Giolito. This season, Maeda is 3-2 over 52 innings and posting a 4.85 ERA. He’s allowed 60 hits and 33 runs while walking 15 and striking out 50. In his last five starts against the White Sox (going back to 2017) he’s 2-0 over 20 innings while allowing 18 hits, eight runs, and striking out 20. Maeda is a five-pitch guy: 4-seam (22.6%), sinker (6.5%), slider (41.1%), curve (3.1%), and split (26.8%).

In Giolito’s last seven starts he’s posting a 3-1 record and 2.74 ERA, lasting 46 innings and giving up 31 hits while striking out 60. In his last five against the Twins he’s 1-3 posting a 4.71 ERA over 28 23 innings.

Tuesday is Bailey Ober vs. Dylan Cease. Ober faced the White Sox in his debut on May 18 (and got a no-decision for his efforts). In his last seven games he’s 0-0, lasting 21 13 innings and giving up 24 hits while striking out 23. He’s posting a 4.64 ERA and has given up four home runs in 2021. Ober has four pitches in his arsenal: 4-seam (59.7%), change (16.7%), slider (14.4%), and curve (9.2%)

Cease is 6-3 so far in 2021 with a 3.81 ERA. In his last seven games he’s 4-3 with a 5.45 ERA (oof). In his five starts against the Twins he’s 0-2 while lasting 16 23 innings, allowing 27 hits, 17 runs, and 18 strikeouts.

Wednesday is José Berríos vs. Carlos Rodón. Berríos is 7-2 this season, going 89 23 innings and allowing 74 hits. He’s posting a 3.41 ERA and has walked 23. In his last seven starts he’s 4-0 for 44 innings, allowing 17 runs and five home runs. Berríos is 3-0 against the White Sox with a 3.81 ERA and striking out 27 while walking eight. He relies on four pitches: curve (31.4%), 4-seam (28.6%), sinker (27.5%), and change (12.5%).

Rodón is coming off a tough loss to Seattle on Friday. He’s 1-2 in his last seven, having lasted 42 innings and posting a 2.57 ERA. Rodón has a 2.07 overall ERA for 2021 and is 6-3. In his last five starts against the Twins he’s 4-1, going 26 13 innings and striking out 31 while walking 14. He’s only allowed two home runs in the last give against them and both are probably from Nelson Cruz.

Thursday is TBD vs. Lance Lynn for the close. Lynn is 7-3 this season and 3-2 in the last seven. He’s gone 78 23 innings this season and allowed 55 hits while striking out 90. In the times he’s faced the Twins, he’s gone 1-0 and lasted 16 innings, posting a 2.81 ERA and striking out 14 while allowing two home runs (also probably from Nelson Cruz).

Why we still hate them

Because they’re the Twins.