The Twins have the fewest hits in the American League. The Tigers have the most.
So keeping games close will be Minnesota's top priority in the three-game series that starts tonight at Comerica Park.
"We pitched well against Texas, a team that can really hit the baseball," manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday, after the Twins outscored the Rangers 16-8 in their four-game series at Target Field. "We're going to get another big test right here, with a lineup that can really abuse you."
He's talking about that Cabrera-Fielder-Martinez heart of the order, though the Tigers haven't exactly killed the Twins lately. In fact, Minnesota is 10-11 over the last two years against Detroit -- remember, the Tigers were A.L. champions last year, while the Twins won only 66 games -- and the Tigers' run-scoring advantage is only 99-93.
So the Twins hope to use the same formula that earned them a split against Texas -- keep the games close and low-scoring. Tonight it will be up to Mike Pelfrey, who despite his 2-2 record still hasn't had a breakout performance this season. But he's done well, Gardenhire said, at "at least getting us to the second half of games, giving us a chance, so our bullpen can take over."
His lineup tonight includes Trevor Plouffe, back at third base after two days off, and Oswaldo Arcia in left field, as Josh Willingham continues to work through some knee soreness after an awkward slide into second base on Saturday.