Despite once again failing repeatedly to come up with a big hit in a scoring opportunity last night, the Twins managed to scrape out a victory thanks to some sloppy play from the Tigers fielders and a brilliant outing from Francisco Liriano. They aren't likely to be so lucky tonight, so it's about time that the bats finally awakened and drove in some runs. It has to happen at some point, right?
Up to this point in the season, the Twins have been absolutely dreadful with runners on base. While they rank third in the AL in team OBP at .360, the Twins have squandered opportunity after opportunity thanks to a .244 average with runners in scoring position (including .143 with the bases loaded) and a total of 24 double plays that trails only the White Sox among AL clubs. I suppose wasting all these runners is better than not putting the runners on in the first place, but the bad breaks are growing increasingly frustrating.
With all that out of the way, let's take a look at tonight's pitching match-up.
#30 / Pitcher / Minnesota Twins
Sep 19, 1981
|2010 - Scott Baker||2-2||4||4||0||0||0||0||24.1||27||13||13||3||5||15||4.81||1.32|
In his first turn against the Tigers since No. 163 Part Two, Baker is looking to bounce back from an ugly outing against Cleveland last Thursday, when he surrendered six runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings. Prior that, he'd rattled off two straight strong starts, looking more like the pitcher who cruised through the final four months of the 2009 season than the guy who struggled out of the gates.
Tonight's game presents a good opportunity for Baker to get back on track. He'll be facing a strikeout-prone Detroit lineup that doesn't have a lot of left-handed hitters. A notorious slow starter, Baker isn't surprising anyone with his 4.81 ERA up to this point, but there's certainly no reason for alarm.
#37 / Pitcher / Detroit Tigers
Jul 27, 1984
|2010 - Max Scherzer||1-1||4||4||0||0||0||0||24.0||21||11||7||3||7||17||2.63||1.17|
Thus far, Detroit's acquisition of Scherzer during the offseason has been looking wise. While Edwin Jackson has struggled out of the gates in Arizona, the 25-year-old Scherzer has made a quick adjustment to the AL, posting a 2.63 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over his first four starts. Scherzer is one of those right-handers who excels against same-handed batters, having held righties to a .225/.289/.384 line up to this point in his young career, so the Twins may have to rely on their lefty bats amidst the lineup to carry them. They might miss Justin Morneau in this one, as his strained back is keeping him out of the lineup.
Speaking of lineups, they're below the jump. Click on through to find out where Luke Hughes is playing in his major-league debut.
Tonight's lineups, courtesy of Joe Christensen.
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
6. Jason Kubel, RF
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Luke Hughes, 3B
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Brennan Boesch, LF
6. Brandon Inge, 3B
7. Ryan Raburn, 2B
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Ramon Santiago, SS