Right-hander Jake Odorizzi will make his second start of the season as the Minnesota Twins kick off a stretch of 20 games in 20 days with a seven-game homestand, beginning with a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Friday night in Minneapolis.
Odorizzi (0-0, 6.00 ERA) went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA during an All-Star campaign in 2019 but began this season on the 10-day injured list with an intercostal strain. He received a no-decision in his first start Saturday against the Royals in Kansas City, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks in three innings while striking out two.
Odorizzi is 3-5 with a 4.94 ERA in 12 career appearances, 11 of them starts, against the Royals including 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA over two starts in 2019.
Right-hander Jakob Junis (0-0, 4.00) will make his third start of the season after receiving a no-decision in his last outing, a 3-2 victory over the Twins in Kansas City last Friday. Junis, who allowed two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings, is 0-1 with a 4.23 ERA in eight career starts against Minnesota and is 0-0 with a 4.32 ERA in two starts at Target Field.
The Royals, who have won five of their last six games since a 3-10 start, swept a three-game series against the American League Central-leading Twins last weekend at Kansas City, holding the Twins to just 10 runs and 21 hits in the process.
Minnesota sputtered to a 3-5 record during an eight-game road trip that was capped by a 12-2 win at Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Twins batted around twice in the first five innings and rolled up 15 hits, including a pair of home runs by Byron Buxton and a towering 442-foot blast by Miguel Sano that landed near the Bernie Brewer slide.
Minnesota set a single-season record with 307 home runs last season en route to 101 wins and an AL Central crown and entered Thursday’s action second in MLB with 32 homers. But the Twins rank just 14th in batting average (.241) throughout the entire league and manager Rocco Baldelli is hoping Wednesday night’s contest, which saw each starter get at least one hit by the fourth inning, could be a sign of things to come.
“You look at the lineup, from top to bottom, it was an explosive night,” Baldelli said. “The at-bats were unrelenting, and that’s what we’re looking for. It wasn’t just about a couple of big swings that got us where we needed to be. It was a complete team effort in its entirety.”
Buxton, who began the season going 1-for-15 over the first six games, has hit safely in eight of his last nine games since then and hit all five of his home runs this season during the road trip.
“He’s scalding balls every day,” Baldelli said.
Kansas City, which like Minnesota had a day off on Thursday, also comes in off a big win, holding on to defeat Cincinnati, 5-4 on Wednesday night. Closer Trevor Rosenthal, who walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, got ex-Royal Christian Colon to ground into a game-ending double play.
“(My heart rate) got a little elevated, I’ll admit,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “These masks, though, do a good job of hiding how you’re feeling at the time. But yeah, Rosie had it all the way.”
Catcher Salvador Perez, who has a .333 average and 17 home runs in 63 career games at Target Field, went 3-for-5 with a home run, double and three RBIs in Wednesday night’s victory.
–Field Level Media