The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Minnesota Twins will each have a free agent newcomer make his first start when the teams open a two-game series on Tuesday night in Minneapolis.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney, who was a combined 8-9 with a 5.83 ERA last season with the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees, makes his Dodgers debut after signing a one-year, $8.5 million contract in November.
Right-hander Chris Archer, who went 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA in six appearances (five starts) during an injury-shortened season with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021, will make his first start for the Twins after signing a one-year, $3.5 million deal on March 28.
Heaney is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four career appearances and three starts against Minnesota, including 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts at Target Field. That win came last July 22, when he outdueled Kenta Maeda in a 3-2 victory for the Angels, allowing two runs on four hits over seven innings while striking out seven.
Archer, an All-Star in 2015 and 2017 with the Rays, is 0-3 with a 6.19 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers.
Los Angeles had Monday off after sputtering to a 1-2 start to the season against the Colorado Rockies, including a 9-4 loss on Sunday afternoon in windy Denver. An offense billed by some as the best in baseball after adding former National League MVP Freddie Freeman managed just 11 runs and four extra-base hits over three games in the launching pad known as Coors Field with backup catcher Austin Barnes hitting the lone home run.
The Dodgers went 6-for-23 with runners in scoring position and left 21 runners in scoring position in the series.
“We didn’t play good baseball,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “I thought we pitched well at times. We weren’t good situationally, as far as when we had guys on base, to cash runs in. Defensively, on the bases — I just don’t think that we played our type of baseball this series.”
Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor added, “Obviously we expect to produce. We know we have, top to bottom, the best lineup in baseball, and we didn’t show that this weekend.”
Minnesota also got off to a rough start to its season-opening series, managing just four hits in each of its first two games against the visiting Seattle Mariners while dropping 2-1 and 4-3 decisions. However, the Twins bounced back to win the final two games of the series with a six-homer, 10-4 victory on Sunday followed by a 10-hit, 4-0 win on Monday night.
Center fielder Byron Buxton homered in three consecutive plate appearances on Saturday and Sunday and is batting .333 (5-for-15) with four RBIs and five runs. Third baseman Luis Arraez, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run on Monday, is batting .556 (5-for-9) while catcher Gary Sanchez leads the team with five RBIs, including a grand slam in the Sunday win.
The talk after the Monday victory, however, was the Twins’ pitching performance. Starter Dylan Bundy allowed just one hit over five innings and four relievers combined to one-hit the Mariners the rest of the way. Rookie right-hander Jhoan Duran threw nine of his 11 pitches during a 1-2-3 ninth over 100 mph. One fastball officially clocked at 102 mph per Statcast, the hardest pitch thrown by a Twins pitcher in the pitch-tracking era.
“I’m glad I’m not hitting, I’ll tell you that,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I haven’t seen 102 too many times. I know guys throw hard these days, but that’s some next-level stuff.”
–Field Level Media