Ron Gardenhire is better this morning, but not 100 percent after coming down with dehydration and a stomach illness during last night's game. He said he would try an IV before the game, in hopes he can stay in the dugout. And after the game, he and the Twins have a three-hour flight to Anaheim; "I'm going to sit right by the bathroom," he joked.
His team, however, is feeling a lot better after opening the season's second half with a pair of 3-2 wins over Cleveland. Today, they'll go for their second three-game sweep of the season, but they face the Indians' ace, Justin Masterson. The righthander has a 10-7 record and 3.72 ERA but gave up five runs in his only start against the Twins this year.
The Twins counter with Scott Diamond, who hasn't won a game since June 20, but who looked much sharper last week in New York, before a 73-minute rain delay ended his night after getting just 10 outs. It halted a stretch of six games in which he allowed at least four runs five times, so the Twins are more than ready to seize upon that night in New York as real progress.
Chris Herrmann is the latest Twin to give the No. 2 spot in the lineup a try. Actually, it's his second time starting a game in that spot; he batted there during the doubleheader in Washington last month, and went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Maybe that's why he's back in that role; after Trevor Plouffe struck out four times as the No. 2 hitter yesterday, Gardenhire is still searching for an answer. Of the eight players to bat in the No. 2 spot this year, Mauer of course is the most successful, posting an .850 OPS in that spot. But with Josh Willingham out of the lineup, Gardenhire prefers to bat Mauer third.
Here are today's lineups as the Twins close their brief homestand: