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

Tim Melville calm, his manager says, as he approaches his Twins debut

    CHICAGO — The last time the Twins turned to a starting pitcher with great numbers for Class AAA Rochester — gee, it’s been four days ago — it couldn’t have worked out much better. Aaron Slegers allowed only a couple of hits, and put the Twins in position to win their finale against the Indians on Thursday.

    They haven’t lost since, and it’s a pretty loose, confident Twins team that takes the field tonight for a doubleheader against the White Sox. They’re now four games above .500 for the first time since they were 45-41, two days before the All-Star break, and the prospect of holding their ground in the standings, or even improve their position, is strong. The White Sox have lost six of their last eight, have traded off may of their best veterans, and the Twins are 4-1 in this ballpark.

    Tim Melville inherits all those positive indicators, and his three games of MLB experience with the Reds, even though they didn’t go particularly well, gives Twins manager Paul Molitor confidence that the Twins will get a good outing from the 27-year-old righthander, who owned a 2.70 ERA in 11 games with the Red Wings.

     “You look at those [new] guys when you meet them face-to-face,” Molitor said. Melville had “a fairly calm demeanor, given the fact that he’s coming up here and pitching a big game for us.”

    Melville will be opposed by Carlos Rodon for the White Sox, a lefthander who has a 3.60 ERA in seven career starts against the Twins.

    With the eclipse (and the Twins’ pregame sky watching) over, the sun is shining at Guaranteed Rate Field, where the teams will play two games. Here is the starting lineup for Game 1:

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Mauer DH

Buxton CF

Escobar 3B

Gimenez C

Rosario LF

Garver 1B

Kepler RF

Polanco SS

 

Melville RHP

 

WHITE SOX

 

L. Garcia LF

Moncada 2B

Abreu 1B

Delmonico DH

A. Garcia RF

Sanchez 3B

Anderson SS

Narvaez C

Engel CF

 

Rodon LHP

Twins wait for tests on Miguel Sano before taking on the Diamondbacks

Miguel Sano had a 9 a.m. appointment for an MRI, and the Twins are still waiting for him to return and the results to be read.

Twins manager Paul Molitor still doesn't know how Sano was injured, but pointed out that the big man has fouled some pitches off in the area during the season and thinks it might have just flared up on him.

Joe Mauer is getting the day off, which is standard Mauer maintenance. That leads to one of the more interesting lineups of the year. Byron Buxton is batting third - how far has he come? The center fielder is batting .375 over his last 24 games and has a career high nine-game hitting streak.

Molitor said there was no special message behind batting Buxton third, that he needed to balance out the lineup. But he sure didn't put anyone else there. To me, the two biggest developments of the second half have been Buxton and Eddie Rosario. Rosario's surge has allowed Molitor to bat him behind Sano for protection and put Mauer in front of Sano (which makes more sense) and Buxton has provided a spark at the bottom of the order.

And that's what happens sometimes with development. I remember the end of the 2000 season, we were chatting with Tom Kelly that the guys he's been yelling at for two years were finally starting to play better. In 2001, they were 50-31 before a second half collapse. In 2002, they won the first of several division titles.

Hector Santiago is out playing catch right now as he tests his left shoulder area after receiving a cortisone shot earlier this week. Santiago said the soreness is something he's dealt with for awhile but, "pitched around." The guess here is Santiago will throw a bullpen session or two before going back to Rochester to pitch in games.

The challenge for Bartolo Colon, if he chooses to accept it, is to complete the circle. Colon is 0-2 with a 3.42 ERA in four starts against Arizona. THE DIAMONDBACKS ARE THE ONLY TEAM HE HAS NOT BEATEN IN HIS CAREER.

Forgot to mention this. This has been a little bit of a reunion weekend for Robbie Grossman and Paul Goldschmidt. The two grew up near each other in the Houston area and  played on the same traveling team. Grossman casually mentioned that Anthony Rendon also was on the team. Then he mentioned that Matt Purke, a first-round pick of the Rangers in 2009, also was on the team. I asked him, "Did you guy ever lose?" "We were really good," Grossman said.


Diamondbacks

David Peralta, DH
A.J. Pollock, CF
Jake Lamb, 3B
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
J.D. Martinez, RF
Chris Ianetta, C
Brandon Drury, 2B
Gregor Blanco, LF
Adam Rosalaes, SS

T.J. McFarland, LHP


Twins

Brian Dozier, 2B
Eddie Rosario, LF
Byron Buxton, CF
Eduardo Escobar, DH
Mitch Garver, 1B
Jorge Polanco, SS
Max Kepler, RF
Chris Gimenez, C
Ehrie, Adrianza, 3B

Big Sexy, RHP