Week after wedding, Twins rookie Dobnak gets playoff start

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Randy Dobnak

Minnesota Twins pitcher Randy Dobnak throws against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

NEW YORK (AP) — Last weekend, Randy Dobnak got married in Maryland. This one, he’ll pitch a playoff game at Yankee Stadium.

Pretty nice little Saturday planned — two of them, actually — for an undrafted rookie who never expected to be in this position. Just find No. 68 of the Minnesota Twins on Twitter , where he mentions his 4.99/5 Uber driver rating.

Dobnak was a surprising choice by the Twins to start Game 2 of their AL Division Series against Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and the powerful New York Yankees. The 24-year-old righty will make his postseason debut with Minnesota trailing 1-0 in the best-of-five series following a 10-4 defeat Friday night.

“My parents are coming from Pittsburgh,” Dobnak said. “My agent and his dad, I think they live here. And then my wife, her dad, her roommate and her brother are coming from Hedgesville, West Virginia. I think it’s like five hours or so, not too bad.

“Only eight people, nothing too crazy, but they’re really looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to it, having them there, just having them here to experience it all with me is pretty cool.”

It will be Dobnak’s first outing since leaving the team for a few days because of his nuptials last Saturday. He and his new wife, Aerial, set the date more than two years ago, never considering Dobnak might still be completing a big league season.

At a wedding reception with 250 guests, Dobnak walked in wearing the same large goggles he used to protect his eyes during the boozy clubhouse celebration after Minnesota clinched the AL Central title four days earlier. The maid of honor’s speech ended with “Go Twins!”

Dobnak made his major league debut in August and was sensational in September, finishing the regular season 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in nine appearances, including five starts. He struck out 23 and walked five in 28 1/3 innings.

He was picked for Game 2 over All-Star and eight-year veteran Jake Odorizzi (15-7, 3.51), who will start Game 3 instead.

“A fine line. It was not an obvious move in any way,” first-year manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I think in this ballpark, the guy that throws the ball, keeps it on the ground pretty well, was a good guy to look to. Dob’s been throwing the ball great for us, so I thought it made sense.”

Baldelli didn’t announce the decision until after the series opener.

“I wanted to make sure we got through tonight,” he said. “We were set to name these guys anyway. So that’s what our plan was originally, too.”

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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum and AP Sports Writer Jake Seiner contributed to this report.

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