Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Verlander causes some lineup changes for Twins

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: April 30, 2013 - 5:10 PM

Ron Gardenhire had a simple explanation for putting Eduardo Escobar in the Twins' lineup tonight, and in the leadoff spot:

"He's 1-for-1," the Twins manager said. "We'll take anything we can get."

That's the respect the Twins have for Justin Verlander, who has started 24 games against Minnesota in his Tigers career -- and pitched the Tigers to victory in the last nine straight. Minnesota is 9-15 in games Verlander has started (he's 13-7 personally), including a 4-2 victory over Vance Worley and the Twins on Opening Day.

Coincidentally, it's Worley on the mound again tonight, hoping to build upon two straight good starts. Worley pitched a total of 12 innings against Chicago and Texas, giving up a total of three runs (2.25 ERA) and striking out 10.

As good as Verlander has been the past few years -- and he's got a 1.95 ERA in five starts this season -- a couple of Twins have had some success against him, Joe Mauer most notably (as I blogged about last night). But Justin Morneau owns a .267 batting average with two homers against the Tigers' ace, and Chris Parmelee is 2-for-7 with a home run.

On the other hand, Aaron Hicks is 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, so Gardenhire figured tonight is as good a time as any to give him a night on the bench, with Wilkin Ramirez stepping in. Ryan Doumit, 0-for-11 lifetime vs. Verlander, is also on the bench, but Josh Willingham (1-for-11) is in there, as is Trevor Plouffe (3-for-17).

For the Tigers, Torii Hunter is back tonight after taking Monday off. The Pine Bluff, Ark., native will be cheered by a distinguished guest: Arkansas Gov. Mike Bebee.

Tonight's lineups for the game which -- viewer alert -- will be televised on FSN Plus:

Escobar 2B
Mauer C
Willingham DH
Morneau 1B
Parmelee RF
Plouffe 3B
Arcia LF
Ramirez CF
Florimon SS

Worley P

Jackson CF
Hunter RF
Cabrera 3B
Fielder 1B
Martinez DH
Dirks LF
Peralta SS
Avila C
Infante 2B

Verlander P


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