Minnesota Twins vs. KC Royals weekend series preview

Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Twins prepare to host an improving Kansas City Royals team that has finally found its offense.

The Minnesota Twins host the Kansas City Royals for the second time this season, after sweeping the season-opening series against the one-time division bullies.

After collecting just four wins in each of the past two seasons against Kansas City, the Twins have already taken all five contests this year.

But this may not be the same Royals team the Twins have knocked around, not even the one that hosted them at Kauffman Stadium three weeks ago. This Royals team has an offense.

While they are still struggling to find a bullpen (how weird is that to type?), they boast an impressive 1-2 at the top of their rotation in Danny Duffy and Jason Vargas, and a reliable closer in Kelvin Herrera (eight of nine in save situations).

Even their number-three starter, Ian Kennedy, has been pitching well – though unable to receive any run support for much of the start of the season. He has allowed two runs or fewer in four of six starts, yet sits winless (0-3) for the year.

A team that sat last in the league standings for all of April in nearly every offensive category (runs, average, home runs, extra base hits) has risen slowly from the ashes.

While still last in runs (hard to overcome spotting the rest of the league nearly 30), they have inched closer to their peers. Their .200 average has climbed to .227, though still second-worst in MLB.

But the most impressive stats are the power ones. They have leap-frogged four teams to sit 26th with 39 home runs, just two behind the Twins (though the Twins have played four fewer games due to rain-outs).

While Twins fans won’t see any Berrios-Duffy or Santana-Vargas showdowns, they will be evenly matched this weekend on the mound.

Friday Night Game

Nate Karns (2-2, 4.45 ERA) vs Hector Santiago (4-2, 3.80 ERA

7:10 Target Field

TV: Fox Sports North

Saturday Day Game

 Ian Kennedy (0-3, 3.03 ERA) vs Adalberto Mejia (0-1, 5.79)

1:10 PM Target Field

TV: Fox Sports North / MLB Network

Sunday Day Game

Jason Hammel (1-5, 6.20 ERA) vs Phil Hughes (4-2, 5.23 ERA)

1:10 Target Field

TV: Fox Sports North / MLB Network