October Confidential: Twins

Rival players offer inside look at facing AL Wild Card

October Confidential: Twins

How do you beat the Twins? MLB.com asked rival players from around Major League Baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face the AL Wild Card.

Jose Berrios
"A young kid who is rising up to this high level. Good fastball, good slider, good changeup, good curve, good control. With experience, he's going to be a nasty one."
-- AL Central infielder

"I think what makes him so effective is his offspeed pitch, his curveball that he throws. It's different, really, than anybody's, and if he's commanding his heater, that makes him a lot more effective. He hides the ball pretty well, and when he's able to commands his heater, it makes his offspeed that much better, and he can get through innings quickly."
-- AL Central infielder

Berrios fans Frazier

Ervin Santana
"As a veteran, he really knows how to pitch. He's very effective putting his pitches in the strike zone and attacking the hitters, and that's something you have to count on him. He likes to attack the strike zone."
-- AL Central infielder

Brian Dozier
"Up and in is his danger zone. If you miss up and in, that guy obviously short-arms and can turn on balls. That's kind of his zone. Slider I feel like is a good pitch on him since he's trying almost to hook the ball. If you can, you want to try to force him to go to right field. If you can do that, he's not going to be the guy to beat you."
-- AL Central pitcher

"Stay away. For me, changeup is really good against him. You can't completely commit to it, though, because if you throw it too much he'll sit on it. He's kind of like [Jose] Abreu with a little less power: If you're a guy that falls into patterns, he's going to sit on those patterns. If you get him in off the plate, it's good, but you don't want to live there. If you get him to think auto-pull, he will pull it, and he'll probably hit it over the fence."
-- AL Central pitcher

Must C: Dozier's clutch homer

Joe Mauer
"Pretty patient. Not afraid to hit with two strikes. For years, he's been driving the ball the other way. Take what you give him. He's another guy you have to show him in just enough to be able to get him out away. Sometimes he might cheat in. He's just a professional hitter. I don't think you can go to the same spot twice in a row. It's a guy you have to go in and out, in and out, in and out and kind of work him because he's such a good hitter with such a great eye."
-- AL Central pitcher

"I hate facing Mauer. He's a guy you have to show him in, but at the same time you have to basically move the ball side to side over the plate and also mix in your offspeed really well. He's still got such a good eye that if you don't have your offspeed down in the zone, he's going to hit it through one of the three or four holes in the infield. Ninety percent of his hits off me are probably ground balls through the infield. He's become a stronger hitter this year compared to the past."
-- AL Central pitcher

Mauer's two-run single

"He's very patient. He will take his walks, he'll take pitches, he'll work counts, but then he'll also drive the ball when needed. He can drive in runs. He can really do it all, to be honest. He's maybe been a little more aggressive in hitters' counts. There's been times in the past when he was taking all the way, and now I don't really know if there is a count when he's taking all the way."
-- AL Central catcher

Byron Buxton
"A guy who has really turned it on here in the second half and obviously has all the talent in the world. He's another guy with such quick, explosive hands. He's a guy, too, if you are going to come in, you should be in, off, and then you can go back away. I think ultimately you end up getting him out away with maybe a sinker away or end up with an offspeed pitch away. He definitely made some adjustments here in the second half. The sky is the limit for him."
-- AL Central pitcher

Buxton on improving at plate

"For him, all spin is good. He's a lot better of a hitter than he was last year and the year before that. He's a guy that came up to the big leagues and you're like, 'OK, he's fast. What else can he do?' Now he's a decent hitter in the big leagues. He's proven that this year. His swing's gotten a little bit better, but I think the biggest thing with him is he's got a little bit more patience. He's not just hacking at every pitch. That being said, I think he's a guy that you start out soft and you finish hard. Slow the bat down, get him starting to think about offspeed pitches, and then you just sneak a fastball by him."
-- AL Central pitcher

Miguel Sano
"That's a guy that, for as strong as he is and as powerful, he's a pretty patient hitter. Down and in, I think, is pretty scary for him, and the thing is with him, even if you come in and miss, he can hit that ball out to right-center, almost kind of like Miguel Cabrera or J.D. Martinez. His power is off the charts, I think. He's another guy that, if you are going to go in, you should go in, off -- for effect more than anything. Ultimately, try to get him out away. I think another good pitch is a changeup -- whether it's right on right or left on left -- I think that's pretty good because I don't know if he ever comes off the fastball."
-- AL Central pitcher

"Lots of changeups. He can hit a changeup, but most times he's not looking for it. The only time he really slows his swing down is when he gets 0-2, 1-2. So if I get to 0-2, 1-2, bury a curveball, maybe cutter or slider in on his hands, then go back to fastball up in the zone, because he'll chase up."
-- AL Central pitcher

Sale strikes out Sano

"He's almost like a young Miggy to a certain degree. He takes his walks, and he has obviously unbelievable power. He's a dangerous hitter. He hits the ball hard a lot, and he's pretty smart in the sense if you get him out one way, he's going to look to make an adjustment."
-- AL Central catcher

Eddie Rosario
"Sneaky power. He's a guy you don't want to make a mistake to. Good contact hitter with speed. Just stay ahead."
-- AL Central pitcher

"He's always been a decent hitter. For him, mixing speeds, showing in to get him off the fastball away."
-- AL Central pitcher

"He's very aggressive. The thing that's crazy about him is he can hit the ball out of the zone as hard and as far as he can hit the ball in the zone. He can cover a lot of stuff. Try to pitch around him, and he can still hurt you when you make your pitch. You just have to be smart. I wouldn't say he's a bad-ball hitter, but that's what everyone says."
-- AL Central catcher

Rosario's four-hit night

Max Kepler
"Just get ahead and don't let him beat you. Make him hit your pitch. He's a good overall ballplayer. If you get ahead, don't make your mistake early and you can beat him. He can also catch you when you allow him into the count."
-- AL Central pitcher

"He's young, obviously, but something that impresses me is the way he uses the whole field. Down and in, he's got a real happy spot. So when he's facing righties, any mistake breaking ball that ends up in that down-and-in spot got hit hard out of that area. He shoots the ball all around the field. It's very impressive. He's always had that sweet spot down and in, which is a typical sweet spot for a lefty. But the adjustments he's made since he's gotten in the league and hit curveballs away and up in the zone, it's impressive."
-- AL Central catcher