The Twins brought in Ricky Nolasco at the start of the 2014 season to fix a major problem — starting pitching. He wound up becoming another part of the problem, struggling for much of his first season in Minneapolis.
Nolasco’s first season with the Twins was terrible by most standards. He finished the year 6-12 with a 5.38 ERA in 27 starts. A 2.93 September ERA gave fans hope for what Nolasco could bring down the road. Today, a new year starts for Nolasco as he takes the mound against the Detroit Tigers in the Twins’ second game of the season.
Perhaps one thing that Nolasco has going for him is the opponent he faces today. Ordinarily, starting the year off against a high powered offense that led the Majors in batting average last year is an undesirable way to begin the season, but Nolasco had some success against the Tigers last season.
Nolasco took the ball against Detroit three times in 2014 and never took the loss, going 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA in those outings. Two of these outings came in September when the Twins were well out of the playoff race while the Tigers were fighting hard to win their fourth straight American League Central crown. His best outing of the year came against Detroit on September 16th when he threw eight shutout innings but wound up getting a no-decision in a Twins victory. He allowed only five hits over the start and faced just three over the minimum in his eight innings after inducing several double plays.
Minnesota will send out the same lineup to back Nolasco that they used on Opening Day. After getting shut down by Tigers’ ace David Price, Minnesota hitters will be looking to bounce back and generate some offense.