April 27, 2016

Twins’ Jose Berrios set to make his MLB pitching debut on Wednesday

After being swept on the road by the Washington Nationals — the birthplace of the Twins, by the way — the pitching staff emerged in sorry shape.

Kyle Gibson is headed to the disabled list, as is Ervin Santana. And Rice University product Tyler Duffey, who was called up to spell Santana, took a liner off the shoulder. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t so bad that he can’t stick around and avoid the DL — or so it appears.

Out of all of this, some good news: Top-rated pitching prospect Jose Berrios is on his way to Target Field to make his major league debut against the Cleveland Indians. The Twins think highly of Berrios. He was invited to Spring Training and pitched relatively well until getting roughed up late in March. He started the year at Triple-A Rochester and returned to form, pitching 17 innings with two wins, a 1.06 ERA, 20 strikeouts and eight walks, according to MLB.com. Last year in the minors he struck out 175 in 166-plus innings.

Berrios has the talent to help the Twins get back on track. They fell to 5-14 after their weekend in Washington, then beat the Indians 4-3 on Monday with a walk-off home run from Oswaldo Arcia. A win Tuesday night sets up Berrios for the sweep on Wednesday.

Extra innings…

Not all of the Twins’ talent has made the successful jump to the bigs. Byron Buxton, who has all the tools to be a star in the majors, was sent down to Rochester after struggling at the plate. Joining him was Max Kepler, another promising outfielder for the Twins. In their place, the Twins called up infielders Danny Santana, Jorge Polanco and hard-throwing righty, Alex Meyer.

In the minors, Meyer stuck out 19 in 17-plus innings with an ERA of 1.04.

The Twins did get that win Tuesday night, beating the Indians again in walk-off fashion, 6-5. This time, Miguel Sano delivered the winning hit. The last time the Twins had back-to-back walk-off wins was in 2005, according to data shared during the radio broadcast of the game.

All eyes are on Berrios and his start on Wednesday, but don’t forget Ricky Nolasco, the ace, of all things, in the early going of this season. Nolasco had another quality start on Tuesday. He didn’t get the win, but still gave the Twins seven-plus innings with no walks and nine strikeouts.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.