What pitcher has had the greatest success against the Twins this season? The answer may surprise you: It’s Danny Duffy.
The Royals’ lefthander has started three games against Minnesota, pitched a total of 19 innings, and has allowed just two runs. That’s an 0.95 ERA, and it gives Paul Molitor an idea about today’s fourth meeting with Duffy:
“I’d say, whatever we’ve tried the last two times, we should try something different,” the Twins’ manager said.
Duffy’s secret is just basic pitching: He throws hard enough to make hitters fear the fastball, but he’s got a changeup that get you out. “We get so worried about the velocity, sometimes we get sped up and become vulnerable to those off-speed pitches,” Molitor said. “He’s got the ability to throw strikes with both.”
Duffy will be opposed by Ervin Santana, who is still trying to recapture his old form. The 2017 All-Star has a 6.10 ERA in two starts, but “I still see the same demeanor as far as confidence,” Molitor said. “He’s learning to trust where he’s at with his stuff.”
If Santana can make progress, and if the Twins catch Duffy on an off day, they could record their fourth sweep of the season. The timing is good, considering they spend the next four days in Cleveland, playing a team that remains stubbornly unable to put the Twins away for good.
Joe Mauer gets the afternoon off, and Miguel Sano returns to the cleanup spot for the first time since June 13. Here are the lineups to Sunday’s game: