Minnesota will play the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif., but what lineup Twins manager Rocco Baldelli goes with is anybody’s guess.
The biggest reason for that is because Baldelli has many options with utility player Luis Arraez, whether it’s which position he’ll play or what spot he’ll hit in the lineup.
Only a couple of weeks into the season, the 24-year-old Arraez has started at three different positions and batted in four different spots in the lineup.
In Friday’s 10-3 loss to the Angels, Arraez started at second base for the third time this season. He’s started nine times at third base and once in left field. He batted fifth on Friday, going 0 for 3 with a walk. He’s primarily batted leadoff (eight times) while also batting sixth (twice) and ninth (twice).
On Thursday against the Boston Red Sox, Arraez played all three positions in the same game and had four hits, becoming the second player in Twins history to accomplish that, joining Terry Jorgensen, who did it on Aug. 17, 1993.
“He does everything for us, and he’s willing to do more,” Baldelli said of Arraez. “He honestly will do anything that we need from him, for his team, he’ll do it. He’s been a lightning bolt. He’s been a positive continually, just as a human and a teammate.”
Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (1-0, 4.09 ERA) will start Saturday for Minnesota, his first start at Angel Stadium since Sept. 30, 2018, when he was a member of the Angels. He didn’t pitch there in 2019 or 2020 while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Shoemaker had his best season in 2014, when he went 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 27 games (20 starts) for the Angels, but he has been hindered by injuries ever since. He’s never pitched against the Angels but is 19-15 with a 3.19 ERA in 49 games (44 starts) at Angel Stadium.
Left-hander Jose Quintana (0-1, 16.20 ERA) will start for Los Angeles, his third attempt for his first victory with his new club. He struggled in his first two efforts, failing to last at least four innings in either one. He gave up four runs in 3 1/3 innings while getting a no-decision against the Houston Astros, then gave up seven runs (five earned) in 1 2/3 innings in a loss to Toronto.
“The walks have killed me in my last two starts,” said Quintana, who issued seven walks in the two starts. “I’ve been pitching behind in the count. … That’s it. I need to stay away from that.”
Quintana is 7-8 with a 4.05 ERA in 21 career starts against the Twins.
Angels center fielder Mike Trout is off to another hot start, leading the team in just about every offensive category, but that includes strikeouts. He struck out once on Friday and has struck out 16 times in 57 plate appearances this season, a rate of 28.1 percent.
A high number of strikeouts is not unusual for Trout, who led the American League with 184 in 2014 on his way to winning the first of his three MVP awards.
–Field Level Media