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Twins Insider

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

Postgame: Gee happy in pen, would be glad to start, but hopes not both

    CHICAGO — Dillon Gee hadn’t started a game since last Sept. 13, having made 11 big-league relief appearances in the interim. In the first six seasons of his major league career, all of it with the Mets, he started 110 games and pitched in relief just four times.

    In between, though, well, Gee doesn’t relish the memory. He appeared in 33 games for the Royals, but only 14 were starts. And that’s not the best situation, he said.

    “I like to start. I like the bullpen, too,” Gee said after limiting the White Sox to two hits over six innings and earning his first win as a starter since Aug. 29, 2016. “The only thing I’ve expressed to these guys [is that] in the past, I’ve been bounced back and forth quite a bit, and sometimes my consistency has lacked when that happens.”

    In other words, he’d prefer remaining a long reliever if the Twins don’t want to put him in the rotation — and he thinks the Twins would ultimately benefit from his pitching if they choose a role for him and stick with it.

    “If I get a start, I’m going to go out there and do my best for the team. I definitely think I can be a starter still,” the 31-year-old veteran righthander said. “I just prefer for it to be a longer term. But whatever the team needs, that’s what i’m going to do.”

    Paul Molitor said after the game that he hasn’t made a decision about Saturday’s game in Toronto, but Gee was always a candidate. He’ll confer with chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, he said, before choosing a starter.

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    Max Kepler started Monday’s first game against a left-handed starter, Carlos Rodon, against whom he is now 0-for-11 in his career, but he sat out the second game against a righthander, Carson Fulmer, a rookie he had never faced.

    Seems a little odd, right?

    Turns out, Kepler was actually written into Molitor’s lineup, batting second, for Game 2, until the manager learned that Kepler had begun feeling nauseous in the heavy humidity and 85-degree heat of Chicago.

    “I think he’s OK. He came down with a bug or something, and wasn’t feeling well,” Molitor explained. “We decided it wasn’t a good idea to put him out there” for the second game.

    And as luck would have it, the Twins actually benefitted from Kepler’s absence. Jorge Polanco hit a three-run second-inning home run to stake the Twins to an early lead, something that wouldn’t have happened had Kepler been feeling OK.

    “I told him he should go high-five Kepler, because I didn’t have him in the lineup until Kepler got scratched,” Molitor said. “So that worked out pretty well.”

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