Interesting day for the grounds crew at Target Field -- When the rain stopped about 90 minutes ago, they removed the tarp, spread their absorbent dirt/sand mix where the infield was still wet, then put the tarp back on. Some light showers are expected before tonight's 7:10 first pitch, but the field should be ready in a hurry when they get the go-ahead to play.
And play they probably will, no matter the elements they face tonight. The Twins haven't played since Saturday, and as Ron Gardenhire pointed out before the game, teams hate one-game travel later in the year; better to just get through an uncomfortable night than fly across the country later this summer only to play nine innings. That will be the guiding philosophy tomorrow, too, when they play a day/night doubleheader. It's 43 degrees now and is just going to get colder, but they'll bundle up and play.
Kris Johnson walked into the clubhouse as the Twins were getting ready for tonight's game; the lefthander will pitch tomorrow's second game, and he's obviously excited to be given the chance. He has started one game in the majors, last September against the Cardinals -- it happened to be Justin Morneau's debut for the Pirates, a weird coincidence considering Johnson essentially is the player the Twins received for their former MVP -- and it didn't go well. Johnson allowed five runs in two innings.
The day was a little overwhelming, Johnson said, but he learned from it. Nerves shouldn't be such a problem this time, so he's eager to face big-league hitters again, albeit with the knowledge that he'll return to Class AAA Rochester on Friday. Johnson isn't on the roster yet, so he can't be in uniform or watch tonight and tomorrow's first game from the dugout.
As for tonight, Kyle Gibson faces Zack Greinke, a pair of pitchers with a combined 7-1 record this season. Greinke will be trying to earn the 10,000th win in Dodgers' franchise history, dating back to 1890. (The Twins have 4,216 wins, by the way, dating back to their arrival in Minnesota in 1961; counting their 60 seasons as the Washington Senators, they have 8,439 games.)
Here are the lineups the starters will face: