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Game 4: Twins at Tigers

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Or, Twins vs. Old Friends

Cleveland Indians v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

UPDATE: Game in a Rain Delay; Estimated 1:00 PM CDT Start

First Pitch: 12:10 pm CDT

TV: Bally Sports North, ESPN

Radio: WCCO 830, Audacy, The Wolf 102.9 FM, TIBN, twinsbeisbol.com

Know Thine Enemy: Bless You Boys

Hope you all had a good Easter!

Coming off a win in their first series of the year, the Twins will be taking on the Tigers today. For the start of the Twins’ second series of 2021, Matt Shoemaker will be taking the mound. The offseason signing has had 4 consecutive years wracked with injuries, having not pitched more than 80 innings since 2016. However, Shoemaker has been effective when healthy, carrying a career ERA of 3.86 over 602.1 innings of work. The type of high-upside, low-cost signing that has been typical of the current Twins regime, the bearded right-hander features a plus fastball and a good slider.

Today’s game will also feature the first start for big Nellie Cruz, who was limited to pinch-hitting appearances in the NL series at Milwaukee. Unfortunately, that does not mean that the lineup will be at full power, as it appears Byron Buxton will be taking a seat today after leaving yesterday’s game with a “non-COVID related illness”. Brent Rooker will also be drawing his first start of the season after being called up to replace the injured Josh Donaldson.

On the other side, José Ureña will be getting the ball for Detroit. The 29-year-old former Marlin sports a career ERA of 4.60 over 597.0 innings, but has only really played two full seasons (out of six). The righty is a fairly hard thrower who had a solid spring training, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep it up in his first regular-season start.

The real story with Detroit, though, is the sheer amount of ex-Twins they will be suiting up. They will be starting a whopping FIVE position players who are ex-Twins or ex-Twins prospects. These range from guys who left 10 years ago (Wilson Ramos), to recent journeymen (Jonathan Schoop and Robbie Grossman), to prospects who never found their footing in Minnesota (Niko Goodrum and Akil Baddoo). Baddoo, who was picked by Detroit in the Rule 5 draft this year, homered on the first big-league pitch he saw yesterday. The outfielder never even reached AA with the Twins, although he probably would have had there been a minor-league season in 2020. Needless to say, there’ll be lots of (random) familiar faces in the opposing dugout this series.

Your pregame discussion question: Who’s the most obscure random former Twin you can pick off the top of your head from the last twenty years?

Today's Lineups

TWINS TIGERS
Luis Arraez - 3B Robbie Grossman - LF
Jorge Polanco - 2B Jeimer Candelario - 3B
Nelson Cruz - DH Willi Castro - SS
Max Kepler - RF Miguel Cabrera - DH
Brent Rooker - LF Nomar Mazara - RF
Jake Cave - CF Jonathan Schoop - 1B
Miguel Sano - 1B Wilson Ramos - C
Ryan Jeffers - C Niko Goodrum - 2B
Andrelton Simmons - SS Akil Baddoo - CF
Matt Shoemaker - RHP Jose Urena - RHP