Paul Molitor says he’s certain Tyler Duffey remembers his last start against the Blue Jays very well. The question is, does he remember it fondly or painfully?
Duffey made his major league debut last August at Rogers Centre, and was admittedly so awed by the moment, he was predictably clobbered by the Blue Jays. He walked the first batter, Troy Tulowitzki, then gave up a tremendous home run to Josh Donaldson. An inning later, Jose Bautista capped a four-run second with a home run that nearly hit the restaurant in left-center field in Toronto’s dome.
Far from being crushed by his 27.00 ERA, Duffey could hardly contain his excitement after the game. Now he’s more experienced, and much more successful, too. “I’m hoping he doesn’t get overly amped just by facing the club that kind of knocked him around in his first big-league start,” Molitor said. “We all know about his passion, the competitiveness that he brings to the mound every time. Seems like every pitch, every out, every inning, he’s just fully vested. And it works for him.”
The Twins hope so, because they need a win to break up yet another losing streak, this one four games long. Duffey, his ERA 1.85 after four starts this season, faces hard-throwing righthander Aaron Sanchez tonight, and the Twins will have a different lineup behind their starter.
For one thing, Brian Dozier will serve as the designated hitter for the first time in his career, “kind of a half-day off, if you will,” Molitor said. That opens a spot for Jorge Polanco to play second base, though it removes Byung Ho Park from the lineup for a night. Oswaldo Arcia is out, too, with Robbie Grossman making his Twins debut in left field. And Juan Centeno gives Kurt Suzuki a night off, with day games coming up this weekend.
Here are the lineups for the second game of the seven-game homestand tonight: