HomeMLB RumorsThe Opener: Pitchers' Duel, Drury, Rodriguez

The Opener: Pitchers’ Duel, Drury, Rodriguez

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On the heels of an early-morning trade report, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:

1. Pitchers’ duel in Minnesota:

Two of the AL’s second-place teams will be sending front-of-the-rotation starters to the mound in Minneapolis today, as Twins ace Pablo Lopez takes the mound against young Mariners star Logan Gilbert. The 28-year-old Lopez has struggled a bit in terms of run prevention through seven starts this year, as his 4.30 ERA is actually just below league average by measure of ERA+. That being said, the right-hander’s peripherals are as strong as ever. He’s struck out an excellent 30.2% of batters faced this season while walking just 5.4%, giving him a strong 3.48 FIP with even better expected numbers.

Twins fans are surely hoping that Lopez’s results start catching up to his peripherals today, as Gilbert has been among the very best in baseball at stifling opposing offenses this year. Through seven starts, Gilbert sports an AL-best 1.69 ERA in 48 innings of work with a 3.24 FIP. Some of Gilbert’s run-prevention can surely be attributed to a microscopic .183 BABIP, but the right-hander has still struck out an impressive 28.2% of batters faced against a 7.3% walk rate. The two aces will clash at Target Field this afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 12:10pm local time.

2. Drury headed to the IL?

Angels infielder Brandon Drury may be poised for a trip to the injured list today. The 31-year-old was pulled from yesterday’s game in the sixth inning due to tightness in his left hamstring, and after the game told reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register) that while he was going to be evaluated further today he wasn’t “feeling very good” in the aftermath of his departure. A trip to the IL could allow Drury time not only to heal, but to try and rediscover his 2023 form. While the infielder clubbed 26 homers in 125 games with the Angels last year, he’s hit just .173 with minimal power so far this season. It seems likely that infielder Luis Guillorme, reportedly acquired from the Braves this morning, would replace Drury on the club’s roster in the event that he requires a trip to the shelf.

3. Rodriguez awaiting MRI results:

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez underwent an MRI yesterday afternoon, GM Mike Hazen told AZSports yesterday. Rodriguez has yet to make his Diamondbacks debut, having instead spent the entire season to this point on the injured list nursing a strained lat. That could be set to change soon, however, as Hazen indicated that with favorable results on the MRI, the lefty will be cleared to start a throwing program.

Coming off an excellent 2023 season where he pitched to a 3.30 ERA and 3.66 FIP in 26 starts with the Tigers, Rodriguez would provide a boost to the reigning NL champions, who have struggled to a 17-20 record and have fallen into third place in the NL West, eight games behind the Dodgers for the division crown. Arizona has relied on young arms such as Slade Cecconi and Ryne Nelson in the rotation amid Rodriguez’s absence.

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