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Game 5: Cardinals at Twins

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The Twins are already a half-game behind Cleveland, so this feels like a must-win

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Minnesota Twins
Can Nelson Cruz and Jorge Polanco drain some more jumpers/hit some more home runs tonight?
Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

First Pitch: 7:10p Central
Television: FOX Sports North
Radio (English): WCCO 830 AM; KMNB 102.9 FM “The Wolf”; Treasure Island Baseball Network
Radio (Spanish): twinsbeisbol.com
Know Thine Enemy: Viva El Birdos

The Minnesota Twins are 3-1 and have bludgeoned opponents in all three of their victories.

To make matters better, the hated Chicago White Sox, who, according to everybody, were ready to contend to the AL Central title this year, are 1-4.

Yet the Twins are still a half-game behind the also-hated Cleveland Indians, who squeaked out a doubleheader sweep over the White Sox on Tuesday.

The good news, however, is that the bullpen has been great outside of a Saturday hiccup from Devin Smeltzer and Zach Littell. Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffey, arguably the Twins’ two best relievers, have combined to throw exactly one inning. And the starting pitching has been solid, all things considered.

On Wednesday, new friend Rich Hill (Can we call him by his nickname here? What’s the ruling on that?) takes the mound in his Twins debut, hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow new-Twins/former-Dodger, Kenta Maeda, who shutdown Chicago on Sunday.

Hill will be opposed by Daniel Ponce de Leon, making a spot-start in place of the injured Miles Mikolas. If Ponce de Leon’s name sounds familiar, you’re probably thinking of this Ponce de León, he of conquistador and Fountain of Youth fame. That’s the confusion that happened with me, at least, so you’re excused if your brain does the same. (Although as near as I can tell, there is no accent above the ‘o’ in the Cardinal’s Ponce de Leon, so there’s your differentiator.)

Ponce de Leon has been a swing pitcher for the Cards over the past couple of years. Last season, he gave up just three runs in 11 1/3 innings across his first four starts and carried an ERA of 1.99 into late July. But he gave up 13 earned over his last four starts and didn’t enter this season as part of the rotation.

Surely, the fountain of youth discovered by the Twins’ pair of 40-year-olds, Nelson Cruz and Hill, will prove to be much more effective than the fictional Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon’s namesake searched for in Florida nearly 500 years ago.

Okay, enough history. Here’s to a win and a 4-1 start to the season, and without further ado, here are your lineups...

Today's Lineups

CARDINALS TWINS
Kolten Wong - 2B Luis Arraez - 2B
Tommy Edman - 3B Josh Donaldson - 3B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Jorge Polanco - SS
Paul DeJong - SS Nelson Cruz - DH
Tyler O'Neill - LF Eddie Rosario - LF
Yadier Molina - C Miguel Sano - 1B
Dexter Fowler - RF Jake Cave - CF
Rangel Ravelo - DH Marwin Gonzalez - RF
Harrison Bader - CF Alex Avila - C
D. Ponce de Leon - RHP Rich Hill - LHP