If spring training was an indication of how the Twins' starting rotation will perform, then it's going to be a really good season.
Jake Odorizzi, Lance Lynn, Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson combined for a 1.84 ERA in 49 innings of work during spring training. They allowed just 34 hits while racking up 39 strikeouts and just 13 walks.
Here's how they did individually:
- 0.87 ERA, 10.1 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
- 1.29 ERA, 7 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
- 1.42 ERA, 19 innings, 14 hits, 3 runs, 6 walks, 16 strikeouts
- 3.55 ERA, 12.2 innings, 13 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
Manager Paul Molitor has decided to start the season with four starters until Ervin Santana returns from surgery on his middle finger (throwing hand) in May.
Odorizzi will start the season opener Thursday at 2 p.m. against the Baltimore Orioles, followed by Gibson on Saturday (they don't play Friday), Berrios on Sunday and Lynn will start Monday against the Pirates.
"My arm feels very good," Berrios told TwinsBaseball.com after pitching Tuesday. "My pitches are right where I want them."
Minnesota's bullpen should be very good this season thanks to offseason additions of lefty specialist Zach Duke and late-inning right-handers Addison Reed and Fernando Rodney.
Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers, Ryan Pressly, Gabriel Moya and Tyler Kinley round out the bullpen.
Phil Hughes was a candidate for long relief but he's starting the season on the disabled list with a left oblique strain.
Offensively, the Twins are expected to be even more high powered than they were last season, when they finished fourth in the American League with 815 runs. Only the Indians (818), Yankees (858) and champion Astros (896) scored more.