Brewers-Twins: Rookie Sensations Peralta, Romero Face Off

Friday, May 18, 2018 1:26 PM UTC

Friday, May. 18, 2018 1:26 PM UTC

The pitching matchup of Saturday will shock you as it comes from Minnesota between rookies Freddy Peralta of the Brewers and Fernando Romero of the Twins.

Milwaukee at MinnesotaFree MLB Pick: Under (& Twins)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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As I’m sure SBR readers know, there must be at least one interleague game every day (barring off days) of the regular season because of 15 teams in both the American and National Leagues. The one such matchup Saturday is Milwaukee at Minnesota, with a 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch from Target Field.

Because the game is in the AL park, the Brewers will lose the designated hitter. They might have wanted to hide injury-prone outfielder Ryan Braun there, but he has landed on the disabled list with back tightness. Not a huge loss, frankly, as Braun is batting just .222 on the season with a sickly .268 OBP. Amazing what injuries pop up when you aren’t using steroids, eh Ryan?

Minnesota has been hammered by injuries this year and remains without All-Star third baseman Miguel Sano, catcher Jason Castro, shortstop Jorge Polanco (suspended) and ace pitcher Ervin Santana. This week, Castro had season-ending knee surgery. Mitch Garver will likely serve as the Twins' primary catcher going forward.

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Freddy Peralta generated 18 swinging strikes on four-seam fastballs, the most for an NL pitcher this season. Only the Mariners' James Paxton has had more this year -- 20 on May 2 against the A's in the 16-strikeout game that preceded his no-hitter.

— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) May 13, 2018

Probable Pitchers: Peralta vs. Romero

Former Cy Young winners Corey Kluber and Dallas Keuchel face off in Saturday’s Indians-Astros game, but that’s not the pitching matchup of the day – at least by starters’ ERA. Nope, it’s this game between rookie right-handers Freddy Peralta of the Brewers and Fernando Romero of the Twins. Needless to say, that’s a bit tongue-in-cheek but both have been very impressive thus far.

Peralta was a fringe Top-10 prospect in the Milwaukee organization entering this season and was called up last week when Chase Anderson went on the DL. So what did the 21-year-old Peralta do Sunday in the thin air of Colorado? A whopping 13 strikeouts in 5.2 scoreless innings vs. the Rockies with just a hit allowed in the victory. Peralta was just the fifth player all-time to rack up at least 13 strikeouts in his major-league debut and first Brewer to do so. Peralta threw 98 pitches, and 90 were fastballs that averaged around 92 mph.

The MLB record for Ks in a debut is 15 by Houston’s J.R. Richard on Sept. 5, 1971, and Brooklyn’s Karl Spooner on Sept. 22, 1954. Washington’s Stephen Strasburg (June 8, 2010) had 14 and the New York Giants’ Cliff Melton (April 25, 1937) had 13. Peralta was only the second Brewers pitcher to have more than 10 Ks in a debut: Steve Woodard had 12 against Toronto on July 28, 1997. The scouting report on the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Peralta was a ceiling of a No. 3 or No. 4 starter in the majors. The Brewers acquired Peralta and two other pitchers from the Mariners for Adam Lind in December 2015.

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What a MLB debut for Freddy Peralta! 13 strikeouts!

via @fswisconsin

— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 13, 2018

Minnesota’s Romero was the organization’s No. 2 prospect entering the year (No. 62 overall in MLB) and has lived up to that in three starts with 2-0 record and 0.54 ERA. Romero's 15.2 scoreless innings to start a career were the third-longest in Twins history. He hasn’t faced lightweights, either, pitching at the Angels and Cardinals and home to the Blue Jays. Romero has allowed just 11 hits in 16.2 innings with 20 strikeouts but does have a moderately concerning nine walks.

The 23-year-old, from the Dominican Republic like Peralta, was 23-17 with a 2.83 ERA in his minor-league career. He had elbow surgery in July 2014 and missed all of the 2015 season. Romero had pitched just four games above Double-A before being called up.

  • Under is 8-0-1 in Brewers’ last 9 interleague road games vs. a right-handed starter.
  • Under is 5-2-1 in Twins’ last 8 games vs. a right-handed starter

How can we not go ‘under’ for an MLB pick here? Clearly, these rookies aren’t this good, but the opposing hitters don’t know them. The Brewers and Twins don’t even have spring training in the same states. The ‘under’ has hit in 15 of Milwaukee’s past 21 interleague games overall. It’s 4-1 in the Twins’ past five overall.

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