Twins Daily: Home Opener preview: Twins host the Cardinals

First pitch is set for just after 7 p.m. Tuesday.
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Byron Buxton

Homer Bailey will make his Twins debut tonight in the 2020 home opener. The realities of baseball being played in a pandemic will really hit home tonight, as we'll watch a regular season game in an empty Target Field.

LAST GAME RECAP

MIN 14, CHW 2: Lineup Flexes Early to Aid Maeda in Victorious Twins Debut

QUESTION OF THE DAY
Do you have any home opener traditions you’re going to maintain?

TODAY
Cardinals at Twins, 7:10 pm CT
Betting Lines: MIN -1.5, -127, 10.0 O/U

Twins: Homer Bailey, RHP: Bailey had one of the weirder seasons I can remember last year. He started out as one of the worst players in baseball, lucky the Royals gave him the opportunity to continue his career. By the end of the year, he was about as good as anybody in baseball. Seriously!

From July 23 forward, which just so happens to be the same date the 2020 season started, Bailey was tied with Zack Greinke for 11th in fWAR. He had a 3.31 ERA (3.17 FIP) over 65 1/3 innings with Oakland and walked just 4.5% of the batters he faced over that stretch (league average BB% for starting pitchers was 7.7 last season).

Which Homer Bailey are we going to see in 2020? That’s probably anybody’s best guess, but he’s coming off a great stretch. Perhaps it's fitting that at the very least it appears Bailey will be filling in for the suspended Michael Pineda. According to Baseball Savant's affinity scores, Bailey was the most similar pitcher in baseball to Big Mike last season.

Cardinals: Carlos Martinez, RHP
: Martinez will be making his first start since July 30, 2018. The two-time All-Star served as St. Louis’ closer last season, racking up 24 saves. Martinez has been around awhile now, he debuted during the Cardinals’ 2013 World Series run, but he’s still only 28-years-old.

Funny enough, the current Twin who has the most plate appearances is the guy opposing Martinez on the hill. Homer Bailey has faced Martinez seven times, so maybe he can relay a bit of a scouting report to his teammates.

LINEUP

NEWS & NOTES
— We always knew COVID-19 was going to be a dominant storyline of the 2020 season, but things have escalated early. The Miami Marlins have experienced an outbreak in which at players have now tested positive. The immediate concern is of course with the health of those players.

Here’s a nearly 10-minute interview MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred did on MLB Network:

The Marlins last played in Philadelphia, so this has now impacted the Phillies and Yankees, who were supposed to start a series at Citizens Bank Park yesterday. Also, the Marlins were supposed to host the Orioles, so this one incident has already disrupted four clubs.

Thankfully, no Phillies players have tested positive at this time, but their scheduled series against the Yankees has been postponed while the Marlins won't play again until next Tuesday at the earliest. 

White Sox manager Rick Renteria self-quarantined after experiencing symptoms consistent to those of coronavirus, but tested negative for COVID-19.

— Nelson Cruz is off to a tremendous start, much to the dismay of one former Twins reliever ...

Cruz was 0-for-9 with three strikeouts over his career against Fien, who hasn't pitched since 2017. They were teammates very briefly on the 2017 Seattle Mariners.

— There are only five active pitchers with multiple Cy Young Awards to their credit, two of them got bad news this week. Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber have both been shutdown and face great uncertainty. Verlander is dealing with a forearm strain and won’t throw for two weeks. Kluber pitched just one inning in his debut with the Texas Rangers before suffering a shoulder injury. He’ll be shut down for a month.

— Mike Foltynewicz, 28, was an All-Star in 2018 and finished eighth in NL Cy Young voting that year. He posted a 4.54 ERA with the Braves last year and was designated for assignment last night after giving up six runs over 3 1/3 innings pitched. That escalated quickly. Foltynewicz’s velo was way down, but he’ll surely garner trade interest. He’s under team control through next season.

AROUND THE AL CENTRAL
KC 14, DET 6
CWS at CLE Postponed (rain)

Standings
1. MIN 2-1 (+10)
2. CLE 2-1 (+8)
3. KCR 2-2 (0)
4. DET 2-2 (-11)
5. CHW 1-2 (-10)

SEE ALSO
5 Overreactions from Opening Weekend
3 Bench Players Demonstrate Minnesota’s Depth
Luis Arraez Shows Some Slug
We Should Be More Worried About Jake Odorizzi

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