The Phillies have the right pitcher on the mound today -- Cliff Lee is 6-1 this season when following a Philadelphia loss, and the Phillies are one loss away from being swept by the Twins. Lee is also on a personal five-game winning streak.
Lee (7-2, 2.55 ERA) used to face the Twins all the time -- in three different seasons while he was a Cleveland Indian, Lee made four starts against Minnesota. But he hasn't been on the mound against the Twins for nearly three years now, since a five-runs-in-five-innings stint for the Rangers in 2010. He's never faced them as a Phillie, nor ever pitched in Target Field.
But Lee might be the right starter for the Twins to face, too, considering they are so lefthanded at the moment, with three outfielders, two catchers and Justin Morneau all hitting from the left side. Lee, a lefthander, is one of those rare pitchers with a reverse platoon split, meaning lefthanders fare better against him than righthanders.
For his career, lefties are batting .261 with a .385 slugging average for his career, versus a .252 average and .397 slugging against righthanders. And this year, it's even more pronounced: lefthanders are hitting .283 with a .348 slugging average, while righthanders have a .206 average and .305 slugging.
That's why Ron Gardenhire probably didn't mind too much using four left-handed hitters in his lineup today, three of them in a row. We'll see if it makes a difference.
One other note: righthanded reliever Anthony Slama was released today by the Twins. A former 39th round draft pick, Slama owns 102 career saves in the minors, but was 0-4 with a 13.50 ERA with Class AAA Rochester this year.
Tonight's lineup as the Twins try to go above .500 in interleague play (they're 8-8 at the moment):
M. Young 3B
D. Young DH
Mauer (L) C