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Twins Insider

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

Twins hope 'learning experience' helps end losing streak

    TORONTO — In the wake of yesterday’s ugly loss to the Blue Jays, when the Twins blew a 5-0 lead and ultimately gave up the go-ahead run on an unfortunate dive attempt by Max Kepler, Paul Molitor came to the park today with an optimistic goal: Use it. Turn that loss into a positive.

    “Some of the things that happened yesterday are tremendous learning experiences for young people,” Molitor said almost cheerfully, his demeanor giving no hint of the team’s nine-game losing streak. The loss can be valuable, he said, “both individually, [for] things you might have done differently, or collectively, in how you stem some of that momentum when you sense it slipping away.”

    Even he had to admit, however, that momentum in baseball depends mostly on the identity of the next day’s pitcher. But Molitor is upbeat there, too. Kyle Gibson, he said, has learned a lot from his disappointing season, which has yo-yo’d between strong games and terrible ones. Gibson has a 6.59 ERA in August, and today takes on one of the sport’s hottest hitting teams.

    “Gibby is in a good place. There have been some good conversations with him this week about the continuing message of what he needs to do to give himself a better chance in a given start,” Molitor said. “It’s what you look for as a manager and coaches — you try to find growth and a curve that’s heading in the right direction.”

    Gibson’s will head in that direction once he convinces himself of one simple notion, the manager said. “When he gets in trouble, he loses that attack mentality. He tries to be too perfect, doesn’t trust that a fastball down in the zone, with movement, is going to be a tough ball to square up. We really look for him to take advantage of the fastball movement that he has.”

    Here are today’s lineups for the finale in Toronto, as the Twins try to avoid the eighth double-digit losing streak in franchise history:

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Kepler RF

Plouffe 3B

Sano DH

Polanco SS

Grossman LF

Suzuki C

Santana CF

 

Gibson RHP

 

BLUE JAYS

 

Bautista RF

Donaldson 3B

Encarnacion 1B

Martin C

Tulowitzki SS

Pillar CF

Upton LF

Travis 2B

Thole C

 

Dickey RHP (the former Twins knuckleballer)

Mauer returns to Twins' lineup after 3-game absence

    TORONTO — Joe Mauer’s legs are still sore, but three days of idling is enough, he decided.

    “He’s doing better,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of his most experienced player. “I don’t think it’s completely disappeared, some of the symptoms he’s dealing with. But he’s at the point where he just wants to play.”

    Good enough for Molitor, though he’s wary of the playing surface in Rogers Centre. But Mauer is in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday, batting second, with Max Kepler moving into the third slot and Trevor Plouffe, who homered on Friday, bats fourth.

    Ervin Santana is on the mound for the Twins, who desperately need a strong performance from their ace. Santana hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a start since July 15, so this is the best chance the Twins have to snap that eight-game losing streak.

    Here are the lineups for today’s game before what’s expected to be a packed house:

TWINS    

 

Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Kepler RF

Plouffe 3B

Rosario CF

Sano DH

Escobar SS

Centeno C

Santana LF

 

Santana RHP

 

BLUE JAYS

 

Bautista DH

Donaldson 3B

Encarnacion 1B

Tulowitzki SS

Saunders RF

Pillar CF

Upton LF

Travis 2B

Thole C

 

Stroman RHP

Final, 8/28 R H E
Minnesota 49-81 6 10 1
Toronto 74-56 9 13 1