Twins

Berrios draws Jose Fernandez comparison after 11-strikeout gem

Twins manager Paul Molitor thought his 22-year-old right-handed starting pitcher was “more dominant” in his second start than his first.

Jose Berrios struck out 11 over 7 2/3 innings while allowing only two hits in a 2-0 Twins win over the Rockies Thursday night. It was a step up from his 2017 debut when he went 7 2/3 innings against the Indians. He never pitched into the seventh inning in 14 starts with the Twins last season.

“(Berrios) looked a lot like Jose Fernandez, to be honest; explosive quick heater, that sweeping curveball that he can turn into a slider,” said Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond, via ESPN. “He looked good. Sometimes you got to tip your cap, and I have no shame in doing that today.”

Jose Fernandez was one of the best young pitchers in baseball before he died in a boating accident off the coast of Florida in September.

Fernandez was a two-time All-Star in only four MLB seasons. In 2016, his final season, he struck out 253 batters in only 182 1/3 innings. Berrios may not reach a level of dominance consistently like Fernandez, but he’s already done enough through two starts to get Sports Illustrated raving out him.

“Berrios’s top-of-the-rotation stuff was on full display on Thursday. His curveball had the Rockies off-balance all night and he worked it to both sides of the plate. He was able to get a swing and miss out of Charlie Blackmon on the curve for strike three and then, one inning later, froze Nolan Arenado with it to neutralize one of the premier power hitters in the league. The curve was largely responsible for Berrios getting 20 whiffs out of Colorado, and his fastball sat in the mid-90s all night, even as he approached a career-high 106 pitches.”

According to ESPN, Berrios’ performance was just the eighth since 2011 that a Twins starter reached double-digit strikeouts in a game.

This, Twins fans, is flat out nasty.

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