The Minnesota Twins (48-25) and Kansas City Royals (25-49) will face off on Thursday in an American League Central showdown.
The Twins come into the game after dropping two of three to Boston, with the only victory coming in a 17-inning affair on Tuesday night. Kansas City had its three-game winning streak snapped Wednesday with an 8-2 loss to Seattle.
The Twins and Royals faced off in a three-game series last weekend, with Minnesota winning the series 2-1. Kyle Gibson (7-3, 3.70 ERA) and Jake Odorizzi (10-2, 2.24 ERA) notched both of Minnesota’s wins in the previous series. Odorizzi will pitch in game one of this week’s series with the Royals.
The Twins have owned the AL Central this season. Minnesota sits nine games ahead of the second-place Cleveland Indians, while the Royals currently sit last in the division and 23.5 games out of first place.
Minnesota holds a 24-13 record at home this season and is 24-12 on the road. Kansas City is certainly the underdog in this series, as they hold a 14-23 record at home.
The Twins have scored 112 more runs this season than the Royals. Minnesota has a +110 run differential against its opponents, while the Royals are at -64.
Batters To Watch
Whit Merrifield leads the Royals with a .306 batting average, .353 on-base percentage, and .510 slugging percentage. The power this season for Kansas City has been provided by outfielder Jorge Soler, who leads his squad with 52 RBI and 20 homers.
Jorge Polanco leads the Twins with a .326 batting average, .387 on-base percentage, and .543 slugging percentage. Outfielder Eddie Rosario has similar power numbers to Soler with 52 RBI and 19 homers, but he has a .265 batting average to go along with that.
The pitching matchup for Thursday’s game will be between Odorizzi and Glenn Sparkman (1-3, 4.01 ERA) for Kansas City. Odorizzi has pitched nearly 34 more innings than Sparkman this season, but both pitchers have allowed six homers each. Odorizzi has racked up 85 strikeouts and could increase that number against a not-so-threatening Royals lineup.
Both teams added players to their injury report on Tuesday. For the Twins, outfielder Byron Buxton and shortstop Ehire Adrianza were both placed on the 10-Day IL. Relief pitcher Trevor Hildenberger remains day-to-day with a right flexor mass strain.
For the Royals, shortstop Adalberto Mondesi was removed from Tuesday’s game at Seattle with right groin tightness. He remains day-to-day, as the Royals need Mondesi in their lineup because of what he can do with the bat and on the basepaths. Hunter Dozier remains on the 10-day IL after taking swings off a tee Saturday and could be activated sooner rather than later.
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