Twins lefties Rosario, Kepler primed for success in Detroit

Minnesota Twins' Max Kepler (26) and Eddie Rosario celebrate following a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, May 7, 2018, in St. Louis. The Twins won 6-0. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Left-handed pitcher Blaine Hardy will have a couple major threats to deal with Tuesday when his Detroit Tigers host the Minnesota Twins.

Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler have been the American League’s best lefties when facing left-handed pitching this season. The duo are the only left-handed batters to hit .300 or better against southpaws this season.

AL LHB, Highest Batting Average vs. LHP – 2018

*Minimum 60 PA versus LHP

Player Team Average
Eddie Rosario MIN .304 (21/69)
Max Kepler MIN .302 (19/63)
Jon Jay KC .286
Michael Brantley CLE .284
Matt Olson OAK .280

Kepler has been particularly effective in Detroit. The fourth-year outfielder rakes at Comerica Park, where he’s currently hitting .347 in 16 career games there, his highest in any single ballpark.

Hardy will also have to contend with the reigning AL player of the week.

Eduardo Escobar has eight multi-hit games in his last 12 to go along with eight doubles and five home runs. Overall, 26 of Escobar’s 66 hits have been doubles, the highest percentage in the AL this season.

AL, Highest Pct. of Hits are Doubles – 2018  

*Batting title qualifiers

Player Team 2B H Ration/%
Eduardo Escobar MIN 26 66 .394
Jurickson Profar TEX 18 51 .353
Jose Abreu CWS 25 72 .347
Miguel Andujar NYY 21 63 .333
Dixon Machado DET 13 40 .325
Jose Iglesias DET 18 57 .316
Gary Sanchez NYY 12 38 .316
Max Kepler MIN 16 51 .314

Hardy probably shouldn’t count on much run support either.

Twins starter Jake Odorizzi has a 2.28 career ERA in six starts against the Tigers and is averaging 10.65 strikeouts per nine innings, fifth-lowest and third-highest respectively amongst active pitchers.

Other notes:

— The Twins have a .486 team slugging percentage this month, up from .385 in May. It’s the largest such month-to-month increase in the AL.

— Rosario has 20 multi-hit games since May 1, tied with Seattle Mariners infielder Jean Segura for the major-league lead over that span.

— Rookie Jake Cave had three hits, three RBI and two runs scored Sunday in his fifth career game. He’s the first Twins player to post three RBI and at least two runs in his fifth game (or earlier) since Tony Oliva.

Brian Dozier is hitting .384/.454/.686 against the Tigers since the start of 2017, and has reached base at least once in all 21 games over that span.

— The Twins are 7-1 in their last eight games against the Tigers, and have scored at least six runs in all of them. Minnesota has scored 10 or more runs in five of those games.

Statistics courtesy of STATS