The Indians are riding a five-game winning streak, playing like a team with nothing to lose, and they're doing this without two of their best players, as shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo are set to return from the DL on Friday.
Update: In a surprise move, Cabrera came off the DL today and is batting leadoff for Cleveland.
Kevin Slowey could be pitching for his starting job tonight. His ERA is 4.95, well below Nick Blackburn's 6.53, but Slowey is 5-for-18 in quality starts, and Blackburn is 7-for-18. Blackburn was OK for the first five innings on Sunday against the White Sox, and Scott Baker's going to keep getting chances as long as his elbow feels better, which it did on Monday.
Slowey had one of his best starts of the season against Cleveland on April 20, when he tossed eight innings in a 5-1 victory. He went five innings in another victory at Cleveland on April 30. Granted, that was nearly three months ago, but he'll be looking to build off that success.
Anthony Slama is expected to be here after being promoted from Class AAA Rochester late Monday night, when the Twins optioned Alex Burnett to Rochester and moved Clay Condrey to the 60-day disabled list, which freed a spot for Slama on the 40-man roster. Slama posted a 1.71 ERA and held opponents to a .164 average for Rochester.
Justin Morneau was scheduled to see Dr. Steven Morgan at the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology today. Not sure if we'll get an update right away, but I'll post one when we do.
Also will be checking on Jon Rauch, who took a line drive off an ankle last night and might not be available to pitch for a couple days, Manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Update: Gardenhire said he didn't have an update on Morneau.
Rauch is moving around and told Gardenhire he'd be ready to pitch, but Gardenhire said the team likely will give him a night off. Gardenhire declined to say who he'd turn to in a save situation.
Gardenhire did not want to say whether Slowey is pitching for his job tonight, but it's worth noting that the Twins game notes list the pitching probables for the upcoming series against Baltimore as Carl Pavano (Thursday), TBA (Friday), Scott Baker (Saturday), TBA (Sunday). Francisco Liriano is scheduled to pitch Wednesday's series finale against Cleveland.
Alexi Casilla likely will come off the DL on Thursday in Baltimore.
Slama did not arrive at the ballpark before batting practice, but he's expected to be ready to pitch tonight. He'll wear No. 39.
Update: Was told Slama had a flight delay and won't be here until after the game starts.
1. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
2. Jayson Nix, LF
3. Carlos Santana, C
4. Travis Hafner, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, 3B
6. Matt LaPorta, 1B
7. Shelley Duncan, RF
8. Trevor Crowe, CF
9. Jason Donald, 2B
Starting pitcher: RH Justin Masterson (3-8, 5.31 ERA)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Jason Kubel, RF
5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
6. Jim Thome, DH
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Nick Punto, 3B
Starting pitcher: RH Kevin Slowey (8-5, 4.95 ERA)
Target Field. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network