The Tampa Bay Rays took two out of three against the Texas Rangers, facing off against old friends Matt Moore, Robinson Chirinos, and Kevin Jepsen. This weekend Logan Morrison, Jake Odorizzi, and Fernando Rodney make their returns with the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins are coming off a two game split in Puerto Rico versus the Cleveland Indians. Those are the only two games the Twins have played since last Friday. The last three games of their series against the Chicago White Sox were postponed due to weather. For more on the 2018 Twins, check out this Q and A with our sister site, Twinkie Town.
Friday 7:10 PM: Lance Lynn vs Chris Archer
Saturday 6:10 PM: Kyle Gibson vs Blake Snell
Sunday 1:10 PM: Jake Odorizzi vs Bullpen (Yonny Chirinos)
Rays face Jake Odorizzi, but avoid Jose Berrios
Twins Starters Last 3+ Years
The Rays are fortunate to not have to face Jose Berrios. Berrios has taken massive steps forward after being knocked around in his first time around the league. He has a 1.63 ERA and 1.72 FIP over 27.2 innings and four starts.. He’s not walking anybody (1.0% walk rate).
Game one features one of the Twins big off season additions in Lance Lynn. He has a 5.00 ERA and 5.20 FIP over nine innings this year. His 23.8% walk rate has caused major problems early in the season. With the Cardinals he always found a way to significantly outperform his FIP. We’ll see if he can see if he still possesses the magic away from St. Louis.
Kyle Gibson doesn’t strike out many (18.5% over past three plus years) or really limit walks (8.5% over the last three plus years), but instead gets by with a 50.9% groundball rate. The Rays are sure to get their opportunities against Gibson; will see if they can take advantage of them.
Jake Odorizzi makes his first trip back to Tropicana Field. Last year the problems with Odorizzi surrounded a big spike in walk rate to 10.1%. This year that has ballooned to 12.2% in the very early going. His 3.38 ERA is shiny, but his 5.34 FIP is in line with his 5.43 FIP from a year ago.
Fernando Rodney looks to shoot arrows to the Trop roof
Twins Relievers Last 3+ Years
Rays fans have fonder memories of Fernando Rodney than do most fans his former teams. His 2012 season was quite possibly the best season ever by a reliever to that point in time with a 0.60 ERA and 2.13 FIP over 74.2 innings. He limited walks to 5.3%, extraordinary for any pitcher but especially one whose walk rate is 11.3% over his 16 season major league career. He gets the job done more often than not, but he’ll typically make it more interesting than fans would prefer.
Addison Reed looks like he could be the biggest free agent acquisition for the Twins. He has a 1.00 ERA and 1.91 FIP over nine innings. He’s been very good throughout his major league career. He’s been given the eighth inning so far.
Ryan Pressly is quality vet. Get some strikeouts and limits walks.
Zach Duke is your prototypical LOOGY. His overall numbers don’t look impressive, but he gets a 21.1% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate against lefties over his career.
The Twins currently have a 26 man active roster for the Puerto Rico trip, so they will probably drop a reliever. Given their light schedule over the past week their bullpen should be as rested as it will ever be even though they played a 16 inning game on Wednesday evening.
Logan Morrison has gotten off to a frigid start
Twins Batters Last 3+ Years
The Twins have gotten off to a mixed start offensively. They are hitting .232/.309/.392 and putting up a 93 wRC+. These numbers are very similar to the Rays .235/.311/.339 and 86 wRC+ line outside of the extra 55 points of ISO.
Byron Buxton was placed on the disabled list with migraines.
Logan Morrison is hitting .068/.180/.091 and putting up a -19 wRC+. This slump is reminiscent of Morrison’s first month with the Rays. In April 2016 he hit .100/.156/.133 and put up a -24 wRC+ over 64 plate appearances. He’ll break out of it. It’s likely his 2017 season will be the best offensive year of his career but he isn’t this bad.
The Twins best offensive players are hitting like it. Brian Dozier (147 wRC+), Joe Mauer (178 wRC+), Max Kepler (159 wRC+), and Miguel Sano (129 wRC+) are carrying the offense.
Brad Miller should make his return tonight
The Rays are expected to activate Brad Miller after a short disabled list stint with a strained groin. He played most of two minor league games on Tuesday and Wednesday to test out the groin and everything seems to have gone well.
DRB sends best wishes to our Tampa Bay brethren on skates! Congratulations on the Tampa Bay Lightning for taking a 3-1 lead over the New Jersey Devils and will look to put them away Saturday afternoon. Support Team Tampa Bay on their run to the Stanley Cup.
For Saturday evening’s game, some Florida television viewers will need to tune into a different channel than usual. See Fox’s announcement here.