The Twins have gone to the bullpen 14 times in the last three games, with Michael Tonkin and Caleb Thielbar pitching in all three. So Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, concerned about overworking the bullpen three weeks into the season, has asked Mike Pelfrey to be ready in the bullpen today, just in case.
It's Pelfrey's regular day to throw between starts, so if he faced a batter or two, it probably wouldn't affect his normal schedule, which has him starting Tuesday against Zack Greinke and the Dodgers. And if he had to pitch an inning or two, if today's game goes extra innings, it wouldn't be a problem to skip him in the rotation, since the Twins have an off day on Monday.
That said, don't look for Gardenhire to make any changes to his starting five in the immediate future. He said before today's game that he understands why people would be looking for changes, given the starting staff's cumulative 6.32 ERA, worst in the American League, but "we've got to give these guys a chance to settle in. It's early," he said. "They're our starting pitchers for a reason."
Here are the lineups for today's 1:10 p.m. start against Detroit: