Reds vs. Twins: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 27: Miguel Sano #22 of the Minnesota Twins talks with Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 27: Miguel Sano #22 of the Minnesota Twins talks with Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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J.A. Happ #33 of the Minnesota Twins reacts to loading the bases.
KANSAS CITY, MO – JUNE 03: J.A. Happ #33 of the Minnesota Twins reacts to loading the bases. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images) /

The Twins pitching staff is struggling to record outs.

It’s no secret why manager Rocco Baldelli’s squad has been unable to capture the magic of the past two seasons. Twins’ hurlers are surrendering base hits and home runs at a dizzying rate. The Minnesota pitching staff is 14th in the American League in ERA at 4.94, have allowed the second most homers (104), and their mark of 5.31 runs yielded per contest are the most in the junior circuit.

Additionally, the Twins’ staff cannot put opposing hitters away. The club’s 574 punchouts are the third-fewest in the AL, and it’s probably not going to get better any time soon. Minnesota has three starters in their rotation 33 years or older, and each one has an ERA north of five.

While the offense hasn’t been great, it’s fared much better than the pitching staff. As a team, the Twins are slashing .242/.313/.428 and averaging 4.56 runs per contest. In addition, even though they don’t steal a ton of bases, they are opportunistic. The Twins have only been gunned down three times in 27 attempts.

If there’s one safe bet to place during this brief two-game set, the ball will fly out of Target Field.  Minnesota is second in the junior circuit with 101 round-trippers. Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, and Josh Donaldson have reached double figures in home runs on the season.

Centerfielder Byron Buxton is having a breakout campaign. The second overall pick of the 2012 draft by the Twins has posted a .365/.402/.750 slash line with a 1.152 OPS and a ridiculous 217 OPS+ mark. It appears his bat is finally catching up with his Gold Glove-caliber defense.