After having Friday night’s series opener postponed due to inclement weather that included tornado warnings, the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins will play a straight doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Right-hander Ian Kennedy (0-1, 7.88 ERA) will start the first of the two seven-inning games for the Royals and will be opposed by right-hander Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 6.00). Following a 30-minute break, left-hander Danny Duffy (0-2, 5.12) will square off with Minnesota right-hander Jose Berrios (1-2, 5.31).
Kennedy, who went 3-2 with 30 saves and a 3.41 ERA in 2019, will be making his first start since 2018, serving in an opener’s role. He will be followed by the original planned starter, right-hander Jakob Junis (0-0, 4.00).
Royals manager Mike Matheny wanted to get Kennedy back on the mound quickly following a rough relief outing on Wednesday in a 5-4 win at Cincinnati that saw him allow a two-run homer to Freddy Galvis and a solo shot to Jesse Winkler during an 11-pitch outing. Kennedy has yielded 10 hits in eight innings this season, six of them home runs.
“To me, just talking it through for a couple of days with the staff and then realizing we need to get Ian back out there, one,” Matheny said, according to kansascity.com, when asked why he decided to give Kennedy the start. “Then there’s some things that we knew he’s doing already (and) thinking about mechanically to get him locked back in.
“But also getting him kind of — whether it’s that set of knowledge of how to go about it as a starter and he also had kind of that prep time as a closer to know, ‘This is when I’m going to pitch.’ So, we’re trying to let him get his prep ready.”
Kennedy, who became the fifth Royals pitcher to record a 30-save season after making the transition to the bullpen last season, will be making his 290th career start. He is 6-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 22 appearances, including 15 starts, in his career against the Twins and is 1-2 with a 5.57 ERA in nine games (seven starts) against Minnesota at Target Field.
Odorizzi will be making his second start after beginning the season on the injured list because of an intercostal strain. He allowed two runs on four hits and two walks over three innings of a 9-6 loss at Kansas City last Saturday.
“It was just kind of a little rusty, which I kind of expected to be a little bit,” Odorizzi said his first start, according to MLB.com. “Physically, I felt perfectly fine. I think that’s the main thing I’m taking away from today is I had no issues whatsoever with any pain, any residual pain, any tightness.”
Odorizzi, coming off an All-Star season that saw him go 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA, is 3-5 with a 4.94 ERA in 12 career appearances (11 starts) against the Royals.
Duffy is 6-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 24 career games (20 starts) against the Twins and has pitched well in 11 appearances (nine starts) at Target Field, compiling a 4-2 record and 3.70 ERA.
Berrios is 3-3 with a 4.45 ERA in 14 career starts against Kansas City. He is coming in off a 4-2 loss to the Royals on Sunday in Kansas City, where he allowed four runs on eight hits, including a solo homer by Maikel Franco, and walked three while striking out four in 5 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media