Top of Twins lineup best in MLB in early going

Off to a 6-4 start, the Minnesota Twins are getting a nice mix of pitching and hitting.

The Twins rank ninth in the majors in runs allowed per game (3.70) and are fourth in the American League in runs per game (4.70).

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A big reason for the latter stat has been the production from the top of the lineup, which has mainly consisted of Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano. Dozier has batted leadoff in every game thus far while Mauer has hit second nine times and Sano has been third in the order also in every game but one.

Dozier is batting .293 with a .396 on-base percentage and .610 slugging percentage (a 1.006 OPS) with four home runs, 10 runs and five RBI.

Mauer leads the team with a .378 average and .525 OBP and is also slugging .516 (1.041 OPS) and has scored six runs. Sano has a .250/.341/.583 (.925 OPS) slash line with three homers, seven runs and eight RBI.

Combined, Minnesota’ top-three hitters in the order (Eddie Rosario took both Mauer’s and Sano’s places in the lineup when they sat out) have a .971 OPS — which easily tops any other 1-3 lineup in Major League Baseball. Washington is the only other club above .900 (.929). The next-highest AL team is Seattle (.872).

Mauer’s hot start — his 12 hits are tied for the team lead with Dozier, who has had eight more plate appearances — has inched him closer to 2,000 career hits. He’s now two short of the mark as well as three walks shy of 900.

When Mauer reaches those milestones, it will be the fifth-fewest games in the expansion era (1961) in which a player got 2,000 hits and 900 walks with one team. Wade Boggs has the record over that span with 1,515 games. Albert Pujols is next with 1,650 games, followed by Todd Helton (1,696) and Bernie Williams (1,709). Mauer has played in 1,740 games with the Twins.

Other notes:

— Minnesota hopes to keep up its pattern from 2017 against the Chicago White Sox. Last season, the Twins were 12-7 vs. the Pale Hose, with a +23 run differential and 3.31 ERA.

Jose Berrios reached 200 career strikeouts in his 42nd major-league game. He was the third-fastest to reach that mark in Twins history, behind only Bert Blyleven (38 games) and Francisco Liriano (42). Berrios made it to 200 just before Boof Bonser (43).

— The White Sox have won just four games this season, but three have been comeback victories.

— Minnesota has allowed seven home runs this season, the second fewest in MLB.

Stats courtesy STATS and baseball-reference