Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals Series Preview

Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Minnesota Twins battle it out once more against the Kansas City Royals in a three-game series, this time at Kauffman Stadium.

These two teams met at Target Field for this season’s Opening Day, a series in which the winning side swept the other by way of walks, timely hitting and a shutdown bullpen. Of course, I’m talking about the Minnesota Twins.

That time around, the Twins took advantage of inconsistent starting pitching, as Kansas City pitching walked 23 Minnesota batters – including four during the decisive seventh inning of Game One – two with the bases loaded.

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Meanwhile, Minnesota rode their own pitching to help them begin the season 3-0. Ervin Santana foreshadowed a great April for himself, allowing just two hits in seven innings and one earned run as the Twins took the opener 7-1.

Even though the Twins only got five innings apiece by their next two starting pitchers, their bullpen did not allow a run during the 10 innings it pitched. While it imploded in Wednesday’s finale against Texas (12 runs in three innings), the bullpen has held up well despite a heavy workload.

While Minnesota’s starters account for all but one of their team’s wins this season (Taylor Rogers has the lone bullpen victory), they have not been pitching deep into games – with the exception of Santana.

Kyle Gibson‘s longest outing is 5.1 innings, and last time out he threw 71 pitches in just 2.2 innings. Adalberto Mejia, too, has provided very few starters’ innings, averaging just a shade over three innings per start.

The top three starters for Minnesota have accounted for nine of the 10 Twins wins this season, and Kansas City will face two of them in Santana and Phil Hughes. Hughes has started off a surprising 3-1, with only one bad start against Cleveland.

Gibson will try to get his first win of the season in Friday night’s opener in a place he’s done well in over his career. In five starts, he’s 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA, nearly two runs lower than his career 4.72.

Some of the Royals’ hitters have fared well against Gibson (see below), but none better than ex-Twin catcher Drew Butera. Look for Ned Yost to get Butera into tonight’s game somehow, given his 6-8 history against Gibson.

Friday Night Game

Kyle Gibson (0-3, 9.00 ERA) vs Ian Kennedy (0-2, 2.08 ERA)

8:15 PM Kauffman Stadium

TV: Fox Sports North

Saturday Night Game

 Phil Hughes (3-1, 4.71 ERA) vs Jason Hammel (0-2, 5.30 ERA)

6:15 PM Kauffman Stadium

TV: Fox Sports North

Sunday Day Game

Ervin Santana (4-0, 0.77 ERA) vs Jason Vargas (3-1, 1.40 ERA)

1:15 Kauffman Stadium

TV: Fox Sports North