Welcome to what figures to be known as the “warm” day on the Twins’ season-opening homestand. It’s 46 degrees, and promises to rise by another degree or two as the game goes on. That’s as opposed to 35-degree temperatures during Monday and Tuesday’s games.
The conditions have been noticed by the visitors from Texas. “I don’t like it, to be honest with you,” AL MVP Jose Altuve said after Tuesday night’s 35-degree game. “I’m ready to go to Houston and play in the dome.”
So is manager A.J. Hinch, who closed his postgame press conference with this: “I hate it. I hate it. I hate cold weather. I hate playing baseball in this weather. … No baseball player in the big leagues will like playing in this crap.”
Just ask the Twins. They may have visions of a tropical break next week in San Jose, Puerto Rico. But before then, they’ve got four games scheduled with the White Sox here at Target Field, and the forecast is as bad as last weekend: Snow, with temperatures in the 20s and 30s. Twins manager Paul Molitor said that’s the worst part of the Twins’ schedule — that the homestand is so long, almost guaranteeing weather problems, and that it’s against teams that don’t come back to town, making it more critical that the games get played as scheduled.
The Twins have Kyle Gibson on the mound today, trying to extend one of the longest winning streaks in franchise history. Minnesota has won the right-hander’s last 10 starts, just the seventh time that’s ever happened. He’s the first Twin to reach double figures since Johan Santana in 2006, a Cy Young season for the soon-to-be Twins Hall of Fame. He’ll face Lance McCullers, Jr., who has never pitched in the majors in temperatures lower than 56 degrees. McCullers faced the Twins twice in 2015, allowing just four runs in 13 innings. He’ll be caught by Max Stassi, brother of Twins’ minor-league first baseman Brock Stassi.
Joe Mauer is three hits from 2,000 for his career, but he’s never had a hit off McCullers. Miguel Sano is getting the day off after striking out six times in his last two games; Twins manager Paul Molitor said he’s being careful with Sano, with his longterm health in mind.
Addison Reed is here and he’s healthy again, he said, after being sent home early last night with strep throat. Reed said he’s no longer contagious, though his voice is quite raspy.
Here are the lineups for today’s opening act for the NBA Playoff showdown going on across the street tonight: