Veteran right-hander Dylan Bundy will make his Minnesota debut on Monday night as the Twins try to earn a split of their four-game season-opening series with the Seattle Mariners in Minneapolis.
Bundy, who signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Twins in December, went just 2-9 with a 6.06 ERA in 19 starts last season with the Los Angeles Angels. But the fourth overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles has a 3-3 record and 2.70 ERA in nine career appearances (six starts) against Seattle.
The Mariners will counter with right-hander Chris Flexen, who went 14-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 2021.
Flexen is 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts against Minnesota. That win came in his last start against the Twins on June 15, when he pitched eight strong innings while allowing just four hits and striking out eight in a 10-0 victory.
Seattle pitchers limited Minnesota to just four hits in each of the first two games of the series, a 2-1 Opening Day victory on Friday and a 4-3 come-from-behind win on Saturday. But the Twins clobbered six home runs, including a first-inning grand slam by catcher Gary Sanchez and two solo shots by Byron Buxton, to cruise to a 10-4 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Buxton also hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning of Saturday’s contest. He had a streak of homers over three consecutive at-bats before flying out in the third inning on Sunday.
“We rake,” Buxton said. “I love saying that.”
That would have been an understatement on Sunday. Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and Carlos Correa also homered on Sunday, with Correa’s first home run as Twin traveling 458 feet into the third deck in left-center field, 12 feet further than Sanchez’s grand slam. The six homers averaged 407 feet.
“It was a fun day out there to kind of get off the mark for us as a team, and for a lot of the guys out there to put some really good swings on the ball,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Baldelli said Sanchez’s grand slam off Seattle starter Marco Gonzales, which came with two out in the first inning, enabled his team to relax a little bit after scoring a combined four runs in its first two games.
“You’re looking for some separation in some of these games,” Baldelli said. “We’ve played good baseball but not good enough. With a swing like that it gives you the confidence to go out there and do everything. … That’s the kind of swing that truly changes the game in a huge way and something that I think we needed. It was a huge moment for Gary and for all of us.”
“The home run ball got us today,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “They’re a good team. They have a heck of a lineup. They’ve got all kinds of power.
“It happens throughout the course of a year. Guys made mistakes in the middle of the plate today, and they weren’t singles, they hit them over the fence. Kind of the story of the game.”
–Field Level Media