The Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies are off to 4-1 starts heading into their interleague series that begins on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park in Philly. But the two teams come in off entirely different emotional results.
The Twins rallied from a 6-4 eighth deficit to earn a 7-6 victory against the Royals at Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon for their third straight victory. The Phillies, meanwhile, suffered a meltdown in their series finale against the Nationals at Washington, giving up an 8-6 eighth-inning lead and losing 9-8 on a bases-loaded walk by closer David Robertson.
Robertson, who signed a two-year, $23 million free agent contract in January, didn’t record an out in the ninth, allowing a hit while walking three. He enters Friday night’s contest with an 0-1 record and 18.00 ERA in three appearances.
“I’m pitching like crap,” Robertson told reporters afterward. “It sucks. I’m very frustrated with myself. I’m itching for another outing. I’m just tired of doing bad out there.
“It’s probably three of the worst outings I’ve ever put together,” added Robertson, who went 8-3 with five saves and 21 holds and a 3.23 ERA in 69 games with the New York Yankees in 2018. “Fortunately, we won the last two games, but I’m pretty hard on myself, and if I keep going out there and pitching like crap, I’ll have to figure something out.”
Philadelphia’s three top relievers — Robertson, Seranthony Dominguez (0-0, 4.50 ERA) and Hector Neris (0-0, 6.00) — have combined to allow 10 runs on nine hits and six walks and two home runs over seven innings.
“I saw our bullpen as a strength coming into spring training and I saw our bullpen as a strength when we left spring training, and I see our bullpen as a strength now,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “I just don’t think we’ve had our best games yet as a ‘pen.”
Fortunately for Philadelphia, the team’s offense is clicking, averaging 7.8 runs per game. Star free agent signing Bryce Harper is batting .500 with three home runs and five RBIs while third baseman Maikel Franco is hitting .400 with three homers and eight RBIs.
Minnesota pitchers were taking batting practice in Kansas City in preparation for their first visit to National League parks for interleague play. The Twins also play a two-game series against the New York Mets starting Tuesday night at Citi Field before returning home to host the Detroit Tigers.
Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 1.50), who will start Friday night’s opener against right-hander Nick Pivetta (0-0, 7.71), told MLB.com, “We’re not delusional. It’s not easy to hit, especially for a pitcher who does it four, five times a year. There’s not a lot of preparation that goes into it. Put the ball in play, move the guy over, whatever you need to do to kind of be productive.”
Odorizzi is 2-for-26 with five RBIs in his career. He had a no-decision in his first start, a 2-1 loss to the Indians, but allowed just one hit — a Hanley Ramirez home run — over six innings, walking two while tying his career-high with 11 strikeouts.
The Twins’ Michael Pineda (0-0, 0.00), who will oppose Jake Arrieta (1-0, 1.50) on Saturday afternoon, is 2-for-12 batting in his career, while Jose Berrios (1-0, 1.84), who pitches Sunday’s series finale against Zach Eflin (1-0, 0.00), is 2-for-10.
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