SAN FRANCISCO — Nik Turley is a strikeout pitcher, a lefthander who has averaged 12 whiffs per nine innings the past couple of minor league seasons. His fastball is in the 92-93 range, but he usually gets swings and misses on pitches in the dirt.
Today, he’ll find out if those pitches work with major-league hitters.
“He throws a lot of breaking balls. You can’t predict how many chases he’s going to get,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I’ve seen guys through the years that get chased down there, and not up here. And I’ve seen some guys — Matt Garza comes to mind — who I think, ‘Man, is that going to play in the big leagues?’ And they still chased up here. So you don’t know.”
We’ll find out this afternoon, in front of a packed house full of people and animals; it’s Dog Day at AT&T Park. More than a dozen of the humans are friends and family of Turley, who have waited a long time for this day. The former 50th round draft pick is in his 10th year of professional baseball, and until today, had never played a big league game.
“I saw him today, I said good morning,” Molitor said. “He was talking to our traveling secretary about tickets. So that’s one of the things on his radar.”
The Twins are trying to sweep the Giants today, which would be a rarity; Minnesota hasn’t swept a three-game series in a National League ballpark since 2008 in San Diego. Here are the lineups for he series finale: