The Dodgers conclude their road trip with two games against the Twins at Target Field, LA’s first trip to Minneapolis since 2014. It’s a series full of pitching debuts, with three of the four starters making their first appearance with their new team.
Andrew Heaney starts the opener on Tuesday night for the Dodgers, after rough results during spring training. Heaney only pitched in two Cactus League, allowing five runs in both games, recording a total of 16 outs. Heaney pitched in a simulated game since then to continue building up arm strength.
After the Dodgers signed the left-hander to a one-year, $8 million contract, Heaney, who had a 5.83 ERA and 4.85 FIP in 129⅔ innings last year, said in November, “I know that I’m much better than my numbers say I was last year. It was eye-opening to see how many other teams felt the same way. I wanted to have a good partnership with whoever I signed with.”
It was strangely the opposite for Clayton Kershaw, whose health was a concern after elbow soreness sidelined him for three months in 2021, followed by an offseason full of rest. But Kershaw’s spring was healthy from the jump, and about as normal as one could expect, though short. Manager Dave Roberts said over the weekend in Colorado that having Kershaw as the No. 5 starter to open the season gave him extra time to build up his arm, including four Cactus League games and five simulated innings last Thursday.
Both Minnesota starters make their Twins debut, beginning with Chris Archer on Tuesday night. You might remember Archer from tweeting a video of himself as a free agent in January 2021, pitching in front of a Dodgers logo.
Archer signed with the Rays four weeks later, but was limited to just six appearances due to forearm tightness. Injuries have taken their toll on Archer, who missed time in 2019 with a thumb injury and shoulder inflammation, and missed the 2020 season after neck surgery.
Since the start of 2019, Archer has been limited to 29 games (28 starts) and 139 innings, with a 5.12 ERA and 4.91 FIP.
Archer signed with the Twins on March 28, but Chris Paddack is even newer to Minnesota, getting traded on opening day, last Thursday. The Dodgers are intimately familiar with Paddack, having faced him six times in the previous three seasons.
Paddack has a 7.07 ERA in those games against Los Angeles, allowing 25 runs in 28 innings, with 25 strikeouts and six walks. The Dodgers have hit eight home runs against him, with a .579 slugging percentage.