Mitch Garver, Twins catchers swinging away with Tigers up next

Outside of his emotional farewell last season, former batting champion and MVP Joe Mauer hasn’t suited up as a catcher since 2013, but the Minnesota Twins are once again getting some impressive production from the position.

Twins catchers — Mitch Garver, Jason Castro and Willians Astudillo — are hitting a combined .331/.404/.712 this season, which leads the American League.

Astudillo is hitting .467/.474/.867 in 15 at-bats as a catcher, Garver is hitting .365/.412/.762 in 63 at-bats and Castro is hitting .225/.367/.575 in 40 at-bats.

Garver in particular heads into the Twins’ four-game series with the Detroit Tigers swinging a red-hot bat.

He has seven hits and two home runs in his last four games, and is hitting .354/.408/.738 in 65 at-bats overall, a slugging percentage that leads the league.

Player Team SLG%
Mitch Garver MIN .738
Hunter Pence TEX .687
Ronny Rodriguez DET .679
Austin Meadows TB .676
Hunter Dozier KC .661

*Minimum 50 at-bats

Jake Odorizzi, set to start the series opener Friday, has been on fire since turning in back-to-back duds in his second and third starts of the season.

The reigning AL player of the week, Odorizzi is 4-0 in his past four starts with a 1.11 ERA and a .222 opponent batting average.

He’s averaging 8.5 strikeouts and just 2.2 walks per nine innings.

Odorizzi, who helped teammate Martin Perez develop an effective cut fastball during the offseason, is set to square off with another pitcher who favors the cutter.

Tigers starter Tyson Ross is throwing a cutter on 34.3% of his pitches, third in the league and just ahead of Perez, who’s throwing his 31.3% of the time.

Other notes:

— The Twins have 143 extra-base hits already this season, a whopping 46.4% of their 308 total hits. That percentage leads the majors.

— Both teams are swinging away this year. The Tigers have the league’s highest swing rate at 49.2%, while the Twins rank second at 48.6%.

— Both teams also feature sluggers who like to tee off on the first pitch. Twins second baseman Jonathan Schoop has a .729 slugging percentage on the first pitch since 2016, third in the league over that span. Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos ranks fourth at .706, and Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz is fifth at .680.

— The Twins don’t allow many home runs at Target Field. They’re averaging just 0.75 home runs allowed per nine innings in Minneapolis, the lowest such rate in the league.

Statistics courtesy of sportradar