Twins left fielder Robbie Grossman has more hits (24), runs scored (16) and extra-base hits (seven) against the Angels than any other team in the majors except one (Rangers).
Though Grossman did most of his damage against the Angels while playing for the Houston Astros, he goes into Wednesday’s series finale in Anaheim doing the same thing playing for the Twins.
He went 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs scored in the series opener Monday, and 2-3 with a walk and two runs scored Tuesday.
It’s an opportunity for Grossman that nearly didn’t happen, considering his travails the past couple of years. He was released by the Astros following last season before signing with the Indians.
Grossman played the first six weeks of the season for the Indians’ Triple-A team in Columbus before he opted out of his minor league contract May 16.
The Twins took a chance on him and it immediately paid dividends. He played one game for the Twins’ Triple-A team in Rochester before joining the big league club. And in his first game for the Twins, he went 3-for-4 with a homer, double and three RBIs.
In fact, he’s been the club’s best hitter since that first game May 20, leading the team in walks (21), doubles (nine), RBIs (15), average (.333), on-base percentage (.471) and slugging percentage (.630).
The Twins, though mired in last place in the American League Central at 20-44, have at least been competitive since Grossman joined the club. Since Grossman donned the Twins uniform for the first time, Minnesota is 10-14. It was 10-30 without him.
“I don’t think anyone would have expected him to maybe get an opportunity to not only get up here as quickly as he did, but become a regular,” Molitor told MLB.com. “He’s playing well enough to earn a chance to be in there on an almost everyday basis for now.”
He’ll face an Angels starting pitcher in Hector Santiago who has struggled mightily of late. Santiago had his best game of the season May 15 when he shut out the Mariners on two hits over eight innings.
In his five starts since, he has failed to get through the third inning three times. Only once in those five starts did he pitch more than four innings. His ERA during those starts is 12.18.
“He’s pitched some really good games this year for us,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “It seems like it’s been one extreme or the other. We can absorb a tough start when you only get into the fifth inning or the sixth inning, but too many times with Hector we’re looking at the second inning and having to get somebody up and try to get out of an inning. He’s trying hard, it’s just a tough stretch for him.”
Santiago’s season has mirrored the Angels’, who have had some bright spots but find themselves 12 games behind first-place Texas in the AL West.