Right-hander Jose Berrios takes the mound Saturday night as the visiting Minnesota Twins try to bounce back from a crushing Opening Day loss to Milwaukee Brewers.
The 26-year-old right-hander was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019 but finished with a 5-4 record and 4.00 ERA last season. He is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two career starts against the Brewers including 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA at Milwaukee’s American Family Field where he dropped a 3-2 decision on July 4, 2018, yielding three solo home runs to Travis Shaw, Brad Miller and Nate Orf.
Berrios, who averaged 94.5 mph on his fastball in 2020 and 93.1 in 2019, hit the radar gun at 97 several times in spring training games and appears primed to make another run at an All-Star selection.
“Jose is in a fantastic spot physically,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “He came into camp beyond ready. He spent his time very well this offseason. … He’s about as prepared as you can possibly be to put in a full year’s worth of innings.”
Milwaukee, which rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the bottom of the ninth to tie it and then went on to win Thursday afternoon’s season-opener 6-5 in 10 innings, will counter with right-hander Corbin Burnes, who went 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA and finished sixth in 2020 National League Cy Young voting.
Burnes is 1-0 in one start and two career games against Minnesota, notching the win with a hitless inning of relief in a 5-4 victory at Target Field in 2019. He picked up a no decision in his lone start against the Twins in 2020 in Minneapolis, a game Minnesota eventually won 4-3 in 12 innings. He allowed one run on two hits and three walks in five innings while striking out five.
The two teams had Friday off after Milwaukee’s dramatic walk-off comeback on Opening Day.
The Twins took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, but new closer Alex Colome couldn’t seal the victory, hitting Kolton Wong with one out, then throwing high to second on Keston Hiura’s comebacker for an error before yielding a scorching RBI single off the glove of Max Kepler to Christian Yelich and a two-run double to Travis Shaw.
Josh Hader struck out the side in the top of the 10th, touching 100 mph with his fastball for the first time in his career on a strikeout of Luis Arraez. Orlando Arcia then drove in Lorenzo Cain, who began the inning at second and advanced to third on an Omar Narvaez single, with the winning run with a high chopper over the mound off reliever Randy Dobnak.
“We hung in there,” said Cain. “We definitely didn’t swing the bats early on, but we continued to battle, continued to get on base and things continued to open up for us.”
Yelich wrote in a tweet: “Winning feels good. Winning with fans in the stands feels GREAT. Not a bad way to kick off the season!”
If there was some good news for the Twins, who lost third baseman Josh Donaldson in the first inning to right hamstring tightness suffered while rounding first on a double, it was that the two teams that they are expected to battle for the American League Central crown, Chicago and Cleveland, also both dropped their openers.
“If we battle like that and play like that all year long, I think we’re going to be in a good spot,” said Baldelli. “Today did not go our way, but our guys played with good enthusiasm.”
–Field Level Media