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The Twins Beat

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

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.

Molitor: Mauer's days of rest are done for the season

    NEW YORK — Paul Molitor strongly believes that giving Joe Mauer regularly scheduled days off is at least partly responsible for Mauer’s hitting resurgence this season, for him batting .388 over the past month and having a hit in 24 of his last 26 starts. Mauer will finish the season with roughly 130 games started, a similar workload to when he was playing the more physically demanding position as catcher.

    But the Twins are trying to capture a playoff spot, and Molitor has had to forego some of his plans to keep the 34-year-old first baseman rested. Mauer has started every game but one since Aug. 25, and today, a day game in the middle of the season’s longest road trip, was supposed to be a day for Mauer to sit out.

     Plans have changed, though.

    “Joe’s been in there, and he’s going to stay in there,” Molitor said of his decision to keep Mauer in the lineup as the designated hitter, a choice made more urgent by the presence of Yankees ace righthander Luis Severino on the mound. “I look for spots to give him a DH game. We were here 12 hours ago [playing a rain-delayed game that ended shortly before midnight], and I’m trying to find ways to keep him strong down the stretch.”

    It’s a calculated risk, given that Mauer’s defense — his ground-ball error Tuesday night a costly exception —  is so important for the Twins. But Kennys Vargas will man the position today, with the added benefit of adding a little extra left-handed power in a ballpark with an inviting short porch in right field.

    “Kennys has had some good days and some not-so-good days, but we know he’s a threat, and we hope maybe he can run into one today,” Molitor said. “It gives us a little different look.”

    The Twins would like to salvage a win in the finale, given that they remain on course to play here in a wild-card game in two weeks. Bartolo Colon, who has a 6.64 ERA in his last four starts, is on the mound for Minnesota. 

    Here are the lineups for today’s matinee from Yankee Stadium:

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Mauer DH

Polanco SS

Rosario LF

Buxton CF

Kepler RF

Escobar 3B

Vargas 1B

Castro C

 

Colon RHP

 

YANKEES

 

Gardner LF

Judge RF

Sanchez C

Gregorius SS

Castro 2B

Holliday DH

Ellsbury CF

Frazier 3B

Bird 1B

 

Severino RHP

Final, 9/20 R H E
Minnesota 78-74 3 6 0
NY Yankees 85-67 11 15 0