Twins powering up vs. left-handed pitchers

The Minnesota Twins have punished left-handed pitchers this season.

They’re slugging an MLB-leading .520 against lefties — the Twins have a .493 SLG overall — heading into a matchup with Kansas City Royals southpaw Mike Montgomery on Thursday and fellow left-hander Skoglund on Friday.

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Minnesota leads the majors with 289 home runs, one ahead of the New York Yankees. They’ve hit 89 of them in 1,446 at-bats against left-handers this season. The Twins’ 16.2 AB/HR against lefties is tops in the majors this season.

Montgomery, meanwhile, has struggled mightily against left-handed hitters.

The 30-year-old, acquired from the Chicago Cubs in July, has a .443 opponent batting average when facing lefties, the highest in MLB.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has the weapons to capitalize on Montgomery’s struggles. Baldelli’s lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox featured lefties Luis Arraez, Eddie Rosario, Jake Cave and Jason Castro.

Max Kepler, who leads the Twins’ left-handed contingent with 36 home runs, has missed the past two games with a nagging shoulder issue.

Other notes:

— The Twins’ sluggers are breaking records, but the Royals have gotten just 36.3% of their team runs via the long ball this season, the lowest such percentage in the American League.

— Twins starter Kyle Gibson enters Thursday’s game with a 3.02 K/BB, the lowest strikeout-to-walk ratio of his career and is averaging a career-high 8.77 strikeouts per nine innings.

— Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz leads MLB in average exit velocity at 94.4 mph and also leads in average fly ball distance at 361.9 feet.

Statistics via Sportradar & Inside Edge