Twins, Berrios aim to bounce back vs. Brewers

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Twins, Berrios aim to bounce back vs. Brewers

Right-hander Jose Berrios will try to snap a personal two-game losing streak Thursday night when he takes the mound for the Minnesota Twins in their rubber match of a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers in Minneapolis.

Berrios (1-3, 5.92 ERA) has struggled with his command in back-to-back 4-2 losses against the Kansas City Royals, walking a total of seven batters over 9 1/3 innings to go along with 13 hits and eight runs.

The two-time All-Star only walked 51 batters in 200 1/3 innings last season while compiling a 14-8 record and a 3.68 ERA.

Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson had an interesting theory for why his ace has struggled, telling the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he believes Berrios’ pitches are actually better than last year.

“You look at his actual velocity and his stuff; his movement on his pitches is better than it has ever been, and I think that’s an adjustment,” Johnson said. “We’re doing some drills. We talk about it all the time. He’s throwing the ball fine. He’s really close, I think.”

Berrios has 24 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings but has walked a team-high 13 batters, including a season-high four in four innings in his last start against the Royals. Two of those walks to the Nos. 7 and 9 hitters came back to haunt him on Whit Merrifield’s three-run homer that proved to be the game-winner.

“If I minimize the walks, I’ll be in better position,” said Berrios, who also had seven strikeouts in the Saturday loss. “More strikeouts, more swings and misses today, so I’m going to take that as a positive thing to work on between this start to the next one. I try to be better day by day, so I’ll be close.”

Milwaukee will start right-hander Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 3.16 ERA), who has struck out 30 batters in 25 2/3 innings while walking only seven. Woodruff is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in one career start against the Twins.

The Brewers, no-hit for eight innings by Kenta Maeda in Tuesday’s series opener that they eventually lost 4-3 in 12 innings, bounced back to even the series on Wednesday night with a 9-3 victory.

Ryan Braun, Christian Yelich and Avisail Garcia each hit two-run homers and Keston Hiura added a solo shot for the Brewers, who built an 8-1 lead through five innings.

“The guys we’re counting on being run-producers tonight came through,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “Braun, Yelich, Avi with really big nights and driving the baseball. You know, we needed one of those nights. … It was nice to have a little cushion for a couple innings tonight.”

The loss could have been costly for the Twins as catcher Mitch Garver left after striking out in the sixth inning, grimacing and grabbing his right side after swinging and missing.

Garver won the Silver Slugger Award for catchers in the American League in 2019 after clubbing 31 home runs and driving in 67 runs in just 311 at-bats.

“We have some concern,” said Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli, who didn’t have any updates on Garver’s condition following the game. “We’re going to kind of wait and assess it and figure out over the next 24 hours what we’re dealing with. No way to really know what at the moment.”

–Field Level Media

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