Fri, 01 Jul 2022

Runs could be at a premium as Twins face Royals

Field Level Media
21 May 2022, 22:25 GMT+10

If you only watch baseball for the offense, there might be plenty of time to run to the concession stand for a hot dog on Saturday night when the Minnesota Twins and host Kansas City Royals play the second contest of a three-game series.

The Twins will send Joe Ryan (4-2, 2.39 ERA) to the moundto face fellow right-hander Brad Keller (1-3, 2.89).

Minnesota recorded a 6-4 victory in the series opener on Friday. The Twins saw a 4-1 lead trimmed to a run before rookie Jose Miranda drove in two runs with a double in the eighth inning. Miranda entered the game mired in an 0-for-20 skid.

The Royals rank in the bottom third of the American League in runs per game, while the Twins are in the middle third. But the two starters will make things difficult for whoever is batting. Ryan has a WHIP of 0.96, with Keller not far behind at 1.01.

Even after a couple of rough outings for Keller, his 2.89 ERA is still the best among Royals starters with more than one start. He's just not gotten the run support. He has received 3.14 runs of support per start, with the Royals scoring just one run in his first two outings.

Even when Keller has a bad start, as he did when gave up five earned runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings against Texas on May 10, he's keeping his team in the game.

"I felt like I just battled the whole time," Keller said after that game. "I still feel like I made some pretty good pitches and backed up a couple of sliders that really cost me. But for the most part, I feel like my stuff was pretty good tonight, which is kind of crazy to say."

Keller owns a 3-3 record with a 3.20 ERA in nine career starts against Minnesota.

Ryan has been everything manager Rocco Baldelli could have hoped for in Ryan's first full season with the Twins. Ryan has allowed more than two earned runs on just one occasion in seven starts.

In his last start against the Guardians, he allowed one run on four hits in six innings, striking out five and walking none. The only run he allowed came on a solo home run by Jose Ramirez. And he finished strong, closing with two shutout innings before exiting after a career-high 103 pitches.

"We really needed a good start from Joe Ryan, and he gave us exactly what we were looking for," Baldelli said. "He gave us six innings. We stretched him out a little bit. He threw the ball really well. Sending him back out there (in the sixth) to face those guys again, he looked very comfortable and still at ease even late in his outing."

Ryan has faced the Royals only once in his career, but it was a good appearance. He pitched six scoreless innings in a start April 21. He picked up the win after allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out five.

--Field Level Media

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