Stats Central: Slugfest Expected Opening Weekend

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios walks on the mound as Baltimore Orioles' Jonathan Schoop, back right, rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Earlier today, the Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles each announced their starters for the season-opening series in Baltimore next week, and right off the bat, it appears we’re in for a slugfest.

The Twins will send Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, and Jose Berrios to the mound, facing an Orioles’ trio of Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, and either one of Andrew Cashner or Chris Tillman.

In the Opening Day match-up, Odorizzi returns to a ballpark where he’s experienced very little success. In nine outings at Camden Yards, he owns a 3-3 record with a 5.44 ERA, with Orioles hitters launching 13 home runs and 59 his total in just 48 innings. Overall against the Orioles, the former Rays ace is 5-4 with a 4.71 ERA in 18 outings. Facing him will be Bundy, making the first Opening Day start of his career. Against the Twins, Bundy owns a disappointing 0-2 record with a 5.54 ERA and will be looking to turn that around in one of the biggest outings of his blossoming career.

In the middle game of the three-game set, the powerful Orioles lineup will look to inflict more pain on Gibson who has never really enjoyed head-to-head success either in Baltimore or Minnesota. In seven outings against the O’s, Gibson owns a 5.89 ERA with command often being the cause of his troubles, issuing 19 walks in just 36 2/3 innings. Against Gibson, Orioles hitters collectively average .322. At Camden Yards, these numbers improve, however only slightly – 5.66 ERA in four outings. Gausman meanwhile has also had his struggles against the Twins, being 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA over five starts.

In the series finale, it’s not been announced yet who of Cashner or Tillman will look to prevent Berrios improving on his 2-0 career record against the Orioles, which has largely been on the back of strong Twins offensive showings. Despite the perfect record, his 4.67 ERA and .905 opposing OPS over three starts shows he’s struggled against Orioles hitters in the past, allowing 19 hits in 17 1/3 innings – six of which being home runs. Tillman meanwhile has never won against the Twins (0-5, 4.89 ERA) so it’s more likely Cashner will make the start. He’s also winless, however has faced them just once (April 2017) and is largely unknown to a dangerous Twins lineup. In that only outing he allowed two runs in four innings of work.

In summary, the numbers tell a pretty clear story – be ready for three high-scoring affairs.

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