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

Dozier, the lone veteran in Twins' lineup, hopes to feast on Shields

    CHICAGO — Brian Dozier will play his 699th career game tonight. That’s not a particularly remarkable number, except in this lineup: Dozier has appeared in more than twice as many major-league games as any of his teammates.

    That’s actually been the case a few times lately, any time Joe Mauer, Kurt Suzuki and Eduardo Escobar are out of the lineup, as they are tonight. But it’s just yet another illustration of how young and inexperienced the Twins are as they close the 2016 season.

    The final two games will be quite a contrast on the opposing mound, with righthander James Shields — an enormous flop with the White Sox since being acquired from San Diego in June — pitching tonight, and lefthander Chris Sale, a serious candidate for the AL Cy Young Award, getting the finale.

    With Shields on the mound, it would have seemed a good chance to get Mauer in the lineup, given his .313 career batting average against the former Royals and Rays ace, but Mauer, suffering from a sore right quad for seven weeks, remains too injured to play. His season is likely over, as is Suzuki’s.

    Dozier, by the way, is 11-for-26 with three homers against Shields, so this might be his chance to collect home run No. 43 and RBI No. 100.

    Hector Santiago has pitched well against Chicago this season — he’s 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 23 strikeouts in three starts — and would like to finish on a positive note.

    Here are the lineups for the next-to-last game of the season:

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Polanco SS

Kepler RF

Sano 3B

Vargas DH

Schafer LF

Buxton CF

Centeno C

Beresford 1B

 

Santiago LHP

 

WHITE SOX

 

Eaton RF

Anderson SS

Abreu 1B

Cabrera LF

Frazier 3B

A. Garcia DH

Sanchez 2B

Narvaez C

L. Garcia CF

 

Shields RHP

Postgame: Emotions of the moment derail another Duffey start

    CHICAGO — Even from the press box, you could see Tyler Duffey’s fury. The 25-year-old righthander fumes at himself, boils with anger when things go wrong, but this time he had a new target.

    Duffey walked Adam Eaton on a 3-2 pitch to start the third inning, then went to 3-2 on Tim Anderson. And after fouling off a couple of pitches, Anderson was sitting on a fastball, Duffey’s seventh of the at-bat. When he got it, he launched it deep into the bleachers in left-center.

    That’s why Duffey was mad at Duffey. But Anderson turned his back to home plate, dropped his bat with a flourish and slowly began backpedaling toward first base, the better to observe the ball enter the stratosphere. That’s why Duffey was even angrier.

    “It’s one thing to hit a homer, but … “ Duffey’s voice trailed off after the game. “I mean, I gave up a 500-foot homer to [Seattle’s] Nelson Cruz, and he [just] jogs around the bases.”

    Duffey stared at Anderson as he rounded third base and headed toward home, and some of the White Sox began watching him, just in case. Nothing happened, except the young pitcher appeared furious on the mound. Brian Dozier jogged over to make sure Duffey remained focused.

    It’s debatable whether he was. Melky Cabrera roped Duffey’s next pitch into deep center field, and Byron Buxton, trying to avoid a collision with right fielder Logan Schafer, couldn’t hold on to it. Next batter, Jose Abreu, lined a ball into the left-field corner for another double, and Paul Molitor hopped out of the dugout to remove his pitcher.

    Duffey’s teammates were apparently just as offended. When Anderson came to bat in the eighth, needing a double to complete the cycle, he was nearly hit by a Ryan O’Rourke pitch, and both benches were warned about further antagonism. Anderson eventually grounded out, and home plate ump Tripp Gibson was careful to stay between Anderson and O’Rourke as they left the field.

    Molitor was asked after the game: Was Duffey still flustered when he faced his final two batters?

    “It’s a redundant topic,” the manager said. “We talk a lot about him and how he pitches and the fact that he gets very emotional on the mound.”

    He was already upset, Molitor said, by how the game started. Buxton was unable to catch Anderson’s first inning fly ball, which was scored a triple, and Cabrera drove him in with a double, then scored himself on a wild pitch.

    “He came in and was disappointed that he wasn’t able to pick us up in the inning,” Molitor said. “The wild pitch, giving up a second run … He rebounded by striking out [all three batters] in the second, but the third inning came and he got into trouble.”

6:10 PM (WGN, FSN)
Minnesota 57-103
Chicago White Sox 78-82