After an exciting win on Friday night to pull the Twins to within three games of the AL Central division-leading Tigers, Minnesota dropped games two and three of the series and will head to Boston with a record of 32-35. The Central is still exceptionally close, with the last place White Sox just 5.5 games out of first. Boston, meanwhile, is 31-38 and is struggling to find enough offense to stay competitive in a difficult AL East.
Here's what you need to know about the Twins roster heading into the series.
- Trevor Plouffe is on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained oblique. The Twins recalled infielder Pedro Florimon, who hit .230/.291/.330 in 33 games for the Red Wings.
- Eduardo Nunez was unavailable yesterday after tweaking his hamstring on Saturday. Nunez has played left field, right field, third base, and shortstop for the Twins so far this season, while hitting .290/.319/.435 in 73 plate appearances. He's been a good fill-in at a number of spots for a team that's really needed more than their fair share of fill-ins so far this year, so it would be nice to have him available with Plouffe on the shelf. Especially since Florimon can't hit and Brian Dozier may not be all the way back quite yet.
- Speaking of Dozier and a sparsity of infield options, there is some questions as to how good Dozier feels right now. He allegedly talked his way back into the lineup for yesterday's game, but it also sounds like Gardy does have a lingering question about his second baseman's back. Dozier did pinch hit for a two-run homer in the ninth on Saturday, but was 0-for-4 with a walk and five men left on base yesterday. Hopefully Brian's back is fine and he's still in the lineup tonight.
- In a worst-case scenario where both Dozier and Nunez are unavailable tonight, the only infielder on the roster who has played any second or third base at all this season is Escobar. Neither Florimon or Santana have fielded any other infield position except shortstop. So that would be fun.
- The Twins have officially released Jason Kubel.
Hot and cold
- Since going 0-for-7 in his first two games back to the Twins, Josh Willingham has reached base in every single game. That's a stretch of 18 games. That's a .328/.481/.655 triple slash in that span, including 16 walks and 16 strikeouts.
- Oswaldo Arcia is on a cold streak, having gone 2-for-his-last-20. That includes ten strikeouts, but on the plus side he's also earned five of his six walks on the season in that time.
- Sam Fuld will be this team's center fielder going forward on most days, unless the Twins make a trade or Gardy pencils in Danny Santana from time to time. Since Fuld returned to Minnesota, he's 1-for-8. It's a small sample size, but it's hard to see it getting a whole lot better than that on the offensive side. He should be fine defensively, which is a plus. I thought he would make that diving catch on Saturday.
- Joe Mauer's slump is no secret, but he is 6-for-17 (.353) in his last four games. The walk-to-strikeout ratio has been starting to come back into balance as well, with five walks and four strikeouts in his last ten games. The Twins need Mauer to keep going. Hopefully he's healthy and this is just something he needs to snap out of.
- Kendrys Morales is still riding his perfect-game streak, having his safely in all six of his games so far as a Twin. His grounders have had eyes, and he's been a great force in the middle of the lineup so far.
- Eduardo Escobar is riding an 11-game on-base streak, including a six-game hitting streak. He's been a real spark at the bottom of the batting order, and his strong season line of .314/.357/.473 looks good right now. He continues to pile on the doubles, and with any luck he could reach 40 this season. He's currently sitting on 21.
- Danny Santana is 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts, and has become the team's defacto leadoff hitter thanks to a continuing hot hand. He was just 2-for-14 over the weekend, but his triple slash for May is still .317/.339/.433. The season line of .340/.377/.450 continues to be one of the best surprises and biggest gifts of the year.