PITTSBURGH — A snowstorm blanketed Pittsburgh last night, and its remnants are visible on the bluffs across from PNC Park. The tailgaters outside are grilling sausages next to mounds of snow piled up by plows. But the grounds crew has removed any trace of the snow inside the ballpark, and the Pirates’ home opener will go on as scheduled.
It’s 38 degrees at the moment, with a projected high of 44 today, so it’s not ideal. But the Twins already know to expect even worse when they come home this weekend. “It’s going to be rough,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
But it’s still baseball, and a matchup of teams off to good starts. Minnesota comes in at 2-1 after a good weekend in Baltimore, and the Pirates are 3-0 after sweeping the Tigers in Detroit. Molitor said he’s told his team to make the best of the chilly weather, that it can be an advantage for a team that doesn’t dwell on it.
“It has an effect. People think about it, people talk about it. But you spread the word — both teams have to play in it, and amongst everything we do here, there’s a mental toughness component, too,” Molitor said. “That means having to deal with various adversities that come your way, including trying to perform a very difficult game when conditions are frigid.”
Lance Lynn gets the assignment, in a park he knows well. Lynn will try to extend the Twins’ streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings by their starting pitchers. Molitor cautioned against getting “too mushy” about the performance of the starting rotation so far, but said he’s looking forward to watching Lynn work.
“The first trait you see is, he’s tremendously aggressive. Throws a lot of fastballs,” Molitor said. “Yes, they look a little different in the movement, whether it’s cutting or tailing or just riding up in the zone. He likes to attack and work ahead. He’s got the breaking ball and the changeup to go with it.”
He’ll also get a chance to bat, since this is the first interleague game of the season for the Twins. Logan Morrison is out of the DH-less lineup, though Molitor said he will probably play first base on Wednesday night. (The teams have Tuesday off.)
Here are the lineups for the Twins’ first game at PNC Park since 2015: