The Twins will finally have their first Central Division game tonight and that might be a positive turn of events for the team. In the AL Central last season, the Twins were able to rack up 47 of their 94 wins. This included 13 wins against the team that will make the trip to Target Field tonight, the Kansas City Royals.
In the first season at Target Field, the Twins had their way with the Royals and compiled a 7-2 record against their inner-division foe. Over the last three season the Twins have take care of business when facing the Royals and managed a 37-17 record.
The offense for the Twins has been struggling to start the season and the team ranks close to the bottom of Major League Baseball in most statistical categories. The Twins are 30th in runs scores, 29th in batting average, 29th in on-base-percentage, and 30th in slugging percentage. The homerun department has also been an issue for the Twins at this early part of the season. There have only been three homeruns for the hometown team as the offense has struggled out of the gate.
The best cure for the Twins early season struggles could be the arrival of the Kansas City Royals. In recent years the Twins have shown the ability to dominate the Royals in almost every portion of the game. The Twins scored an outstanding 130 runs against the Royals last season. That was 32 more runs than the Twins scored against any other team. They also had more doubles (47), homeruns (20), and hits (208) than versus any other team in '10.
There have been some players in the Twins line-up that have been struggling to find their swing at this early junction of the season. Check out how the middle of the order hitters have done against KC in the past:
Joe Mauer (98 Games): .350 BA, .926 OPS, 7 HR, 74 RBI
Justin Morneau (102 Games): .259 BA, .823 OPS ,20 HR, 68 RBI
Delmon Young (53 Games): .278 BA, .805 OPS, 10 HR, 43 RBI
Jim Thome (183 Games): .306 BA, 1.016 OPS, 47 HR, 134 RBI
The Royals will send left-hander Jeff Francis to the mound tonight and this could cause some issues for the Twins. Many of the Twins have yet to face Francis in a game since he played his first six seasons in the NL with the Rockies. Hopefully the Twins dominance against the Royals shows through over their inexperience with Francis.
In game two of the series the Royals will counter the Twins with right-hander Kyle Davies. The left-hand dominated Twins line-up has seen success in previous outings against Davies.
Thome: 4 for 12 (.333), 2 DBL, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Mauer: 10 for 24 (.417), 2 DBL, 2 RBI
Young: 5 for 16 (.389), 1 DBL, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Kubel: 10 for 22 (.455), 5 DBL, 7 RBI
The Royals are near the top of the AL Central and the Twins are near the bottom in this young season. Here's hoping that a series against the Royals is just what the Twins need to wake-up their bats for the 2011 season...