Day games long have been the domain of Wrigley Field and are a favorite of Minnesota Twins rookie right-hander Joe Ryan. But, alas, Wednesday’s start against the host Chicago Cubs will come under the lights.
In any event, Ryan appreciates the opportunity to show his stuff in the final month of the season, which has featured an early brush with success.
After losing his major league debut to the visiting Cubs on Sept. 1, yielding three runs and three hits in five innings, Ryan has limited the Cleveland Indians to one run and four hits over 12 innings over his past two starts.
Ryan’s most recent outing may have stretched longer, but he removed himself from the game after being struck on the right wrist by Myles Straw’s line drive to open the sixth inning of the first game of a doubleheader.
X-rays were negative. Ryan’s attitude was quite the opposite.
“There’s a nice seam mark on the wrist, so that’ll be kind of cool to look at for a couple of days,” he said, “and then it’ll go away and I’ll be back to pitching.”
Ryan (1-1, 2.12 ERA) said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli had given him the choice of whether to start the opener or the nightcap. It was an easy call to pick Game 1.
“If we’re going to have a day game here, make sure I get to bed earlier, set myself up for success there,” Ryan said. “So that one day that I have to go to work, that I’m ready, and I can compete at the highest level and just be locked in when other people might be a little more tired, not as locked in.”
The Cubs (67-84) are set to counter with veteran righty Kyle Hendricks (14-6, 4.81) in what likely will be his final home start of the season.
Hendricks has struggled at Wrigley Field in 2021, going 6-4 with a 5.28 ERA and 17 home runs allowed in 87 innings. He hasn’t earned a victory at home since July 9.
Hendricks is coming off a no-decision Thursday in Philadelphia, where he allowed seven runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. In two career starts against Minnesota, Hendricks is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings.
The Twins (66-85) snapped a two-game losing streak Tuesday, collecting 16 hits in a 9-5 victory. Josh Donaldson, Max Kepler, Nick Gordon and Mitch Garver each had two hits.
Chicago had 11 hits, including Frank Schwindel’s double that extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Willson Contreras and Ian Happ had two hits each, with Contreras contributing two RBIs.
Trayce Thompson, whose contract recently was purchased from Triple-A Iowa, homered for the second straight game.
“Nice at-bats. Seems to know the strike zone, seems pretty calm,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Some real thunder in the bat.”
Thompson entered the lineup when the Cubs placed rookie Alfonso Rivas on the injured list with a finger injury just before Tuesday’s game. Ross said Rivas would be shut down for the remainder of the season.
–Field Level Media