While offense sets records, Twins starters limit ‘bombas’

The Minnesota Twins are hitting home runs at a record pace, but their starters have excelled at keeping the ball in the park this season.

Twins starters are allowing just 1.23 home runs per nine innings this year, tied for the second-lowest rate in the American League. The rotation’s 3.78 ERA ranks third, while their 1.21 WHIP ranks fourth.

Team HR/9
TB 0.99
MIN 1.23
OAK 1.23
TOR 1.32
CLE 1.41

Right-hander Jose Berrios and lefty Martin Perez have led the way.

Perez, who takes on the Kansas City Royals on Friday, ranks fifth amongst all AL pitchers with a home run percentage of just 2.5%, followed closely by Berrios at 2.5%. Right-hander Brad Keller, scheduled to start for the Royals in Sunday’s series finale, ranks second at 2.2%.

Fellow righty Glenn Sparkman, the Royals’ starter for the series opener, is winless on the road this season despite posting solid numbers at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

Sparkman is 0-4 with an 8.73 ERA and a .347 opponent batting average in nine road games this season. He’s allowing 3.27 home runs per nine innings on the road.

That’s good news for designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who played sparingly during the Twins’ three-game interleague series with the Miami Marlins after taking home AL player of the week honors.

Cruz has the AL’s highest batting average on fly balls at .527 (29-for-55), and has five home runs in his last seven games.

Other notes:

— The Twins are 9-3 against the Royals at Target Field since the start of last season. They’re hitting .284 with a combined .802 OPS and 14 home runs in those games.

— Both teams have been aggressive at the plate. Twins hitters average just 3.82 pitches per plate appearance, the lowest rate in the AL, while the Royals rank third at 3.84.

— Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, who has spent his entire 13-year career with Kansas City, leads all active players with 217 career hits against the Twins.

— Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario is hitting .276 when facing a pitchers’ count (0-1, 0-2, 1-2 or 2-2) this season, third in the AL.

Statistics via Sportradar