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The Twins Beat

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Twins sputter into the Motor City looking for a tune up

Greetings from Detroit, where if you aren't driving at least 20 miles over the speed limit, you're getting blown by on the highway.

That's the way it's always been here. And NASCAR is missing out on a recruiting goldmine. The lane-changing here is a great learning tool. And there's a move I call, "The Detroit Sweep," in which a driver in the left lane realizes that his/her exit is just a few hundred feet ahead and makes a series of right lane changes in less that 10 seconds to get off the road.

Crazy stuff. But the Twins will have to get a little crazy this series if they want to tighten their grip on their wild card lead.

They need to get their offense going after scoring just seven runs in three games against the Yankees. They ran into some good pitching, but they had their chances to score runs and missed the opportunities. They must finish off drives this week if they want to beat up on a Tigers team that is playing the spoiler role.

And they can get off to a good start against Tigers righthander Jordan Zimmermann. He has posted a bloated 11.03 ERA over his last five outings, during which he's failed to pitch more than 5.1 innings. They need to make him work, get runners on base, drive them in, drive him off the mound and get into that middle relief corps.

Twins lefthander Aldalberto Mejia makes his second start since coming off the disabled list. He lasted just three innings in his start over the weekend against Toronto. If he can give the Twins a solid five innings, they will be thrilled.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the Angels-Indians game. The Halos are 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second wild card spot. Danny Salazar vs Parker Bridwell will be a great matchup. Cleveland is going for its 11th straight win over Los Angeles.

Heck, Texas is just 2.5 games back now. 

So it's time for the Twins to get back to doing with they do well, and pound on a team that has little to play for. This is the first of seven games against the Tigers over the final 10 games of the season, a huge opportunity to build a lead and nail down the wild card.

The accelerator is on right, Twins. The right.

Second baseman Brian Dozier said the young fan who was hit in the face by the line drive at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday remains in the hospital with a broken nose and plenty of swelling. He was reaching out to Yankees players this afternoon for further updates.

Miguel Sano continues to treat the stress reaction in his left shin, while mixing in baseball-related activities when he can. There is no shut down date in place. While it's becoming less likely that Sano will be available before the end of the regular season, Sano could still be available at some point if the Twins make the postseason and get past the wild card game.

Preposterous, some of you are saying. But the Twins have to keep the option open in case they can play a few games into the postseason.

Twins

Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Jorge Polanco, SS
Eddie Rosario, F
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Max Kepler, RF
Byron Buxton, CF
Jason Castro, C
Robbie Grossman, DH

Adalberto Mejia, RHP

Tigers

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Jeimer Candelario, 3B
Miggy, 1B
Nick Castellanos, RF
Mikie Mahtook, LF
James McCann, C
John Hicks, DH
JaCoby Jones, OF
Jose Iglesias, SS

Jordan Zimmermann, RHP

Dozier remains confident despite Twins' 0-3 trip to Yankee Stadium

    NEW YORK — Brian Dozier didn’t sound discouraged about the Twins being swept in New York. It’s a veteran’s perspective, he said: Look at the process, not the result.

     “I thought we played all right the first two games. We just didn’t get the big hit,” in 2-1 and 5-2 losses to the Yankees. “You get the big hit, it’s a totally different series.”

    That’s the message he hopes to spread as the team flies to Detroit: We still own a wild-card spot. If we play like we’re capable, we’ll be fine.

    “The big thing is, and you don’t want to get ahead of yourself, but there’s still a good possibility we can come back here” for the wild-card game, he pointed out. “That’s our goal.”

    The Twins have 10 games remaining, seven of them against the Tigers, who are fighting to stay out of last place in the AL Central.

    “Our objective right now is to win one game tomorrow, against the Tigers,” Dozier said. “That’s easy to say, but that’s a hungry team over there, a lot of young guys fighting for roster spots next year. So they can be dangerous. But if we still take care of business, we’l be just fine.”

XXX

    Paul Molitor kept glancing at the TV in the manager’s office, a news report showing the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, as he talked about his players from the Caribbean island. He can’t blame them, he said, if it’s hard to focus while friends and relatives are in the storm’s path.

    “We’re trying to support them any way we can,” he said. “But when your homeland is devastated the way Puerto Rco has been hit the past 20 hours, I’m sure it’s a challenge to keep your focus.”

    Molitor said he’s been checking in with Kennys Vargas, Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios, and so far, all have said their families are safe.

Top 8th R H E
Minnesota 78-74 10 13 1
Detroit 62-90 1 5 0