The Dodgers (1-2) lost their first series of the year this past weekend against the Rockies (2-1), and will now look to get back to .500 against the new look Minnesota Twins (2-2). Coors Field is terrible, and getting out of there without any injuries is a success with 159 games left to play. This is the first time the Dodgers have been to Minnesota since 2014, and with schedule changes set to take place starting in 2023, they’ll be seeing the Twins every year for the foreseeable future. For those unaware, beginning in 2023, there is a huge schedule revamp, where teams will play fewer intradivision games (14 instead of the current 19), and will play every other team for at least one three game series.
Anyways, the Twins have made significant changes to their team since last year, as they went 73-89 and finished last in the AL Central. They signed shortstop Carlos Correa to a huge three-year deal, recently traded lefty reliever Taylor Rogers to the Padres, traded catcher Mitch Garver to the Rangers for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and then turned around and traded him to the Yankees (along with Josh Donaldson and Ben Rortvedt) for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela. Additionally, they signed todays starting pitcher, right-handed Chris Archer to a one year-deal. He’s dealt with injuries and has had limited success since 2018, but he has still potential to be very good when he’s on.
|4:40 PM PDT||Minnesota|
|SS||T. Turner||2B||Polanco (S)|
The team will run out an identical lineup as their last game Sunday in Colorado, with the only change being Justin Turner starting at DH over Max Muncy who will take his place at third base. The offense wasn’t impressive in Colorado, so they’ll look to get things going against the right-handed Archer. Austin Barnes still has the only home run for the team this season, and that’ll likely change soon. Chris Taylor leads the team in hits with four, while Gavin Lux has three, and nobody else really had a noteworthy performance this past series. Cody Bellinger even looked okay, with two hits and just three strikeouts. After his Spring Training, that feels like a success.
Meanwhile, the Twins offense has been stronger than the Dodgers over the first three/four games of the season, with Byron Buxton leading baseball with three homers, adding to his insane run of form dating back to last season. He has somewhere around 35 home runs, 15 stolen bases, and over 20 defensive runs saved in his last 100 games, and while those aren’t exact, they’re very close and the idea remains the same – if he can play 140+ games, he has a legitimate shot at winning AL MVP.
Here’s how Heaney and Archer matchup.
This will be Andrew Heaney‘s Dodger debut, after signing a one-year deal this offseason. When it was reported that teams were interested in Heaney even after a poor season, the idea was that teams could get more out of him than the Angels ever could, with concepts being thrown around such as looking for the next Robbie Ray, a starter that with a few tweaks could unlock previously undiscovered success. He’s had a loosely similar profile to Ray before Ray was traded to the Blue Jays, a lefty that’s been able to put up impressive strikeout rates at times, but has issues with consistency and allowing home runs. It’s possible the Dodgers can figure something out with him, and it’s also just possible that he’s a passable starting pitcher and the team needs those to get through the season.
Archer at 33 years-old now, was limited to six appearances last season with the Rays. He had a 4.66 ERA over just 19.1 innings, with only two of those appearances coming before August. Archer, who had missed the entire 2020 season recovering from surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome, was again sidelined by health issues. He required trips to the injured list first for forearm tightness and later because of left hip discomfort.
Both pitchers have had their own successes and issues, and both will be looking to get their respective seasons started off on a high note.
As I’m writing this, there’s roughly an hour until when first pitch is meant to take place at 4:40 PM PDT, or 6:40 central in Minnesota. That leaves them roughly just over two hours according to this initial forecast to get 5+ innings in. Who knows, we’ll see.
Justin Turner had some fun things to say about visiting Minnesota and adjusting to playing time at DH.
Not much else notable going on.
First pitch is at 4:40 PM PDT on SNLA.