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Twins Insider

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

Postgame: Molitor liked his matchup with Kintzler facing Kipnis

    CLEVELAND — A handful of extras from a close game, but still a loss:

    Paul Molitor had the pitcher he wanted on the mound to face Jason Kipnis in the 10th inning with the winning run on second base, even though lefthander Taylor Rogers was warmed up and ready to face the left-hander. Molitor, however, chose to stick with Brandon Kintzler, a righthander who had already recorded five outs, because he had noticed that Kipnis has a reverse split this season, especially with runners in scoring position.

    “I was worried more about [Kintzler’s] pitch count than I was about trying to get the right matchup. Kipnis is hitting 120 points higher against lefties in those situation that he is against righties,” the manager explained. “Overall, he’s had a better year against left-handers. I know it’s a tough matchup either way.”

    The tie-breaker, in Molitor’s mind, was Kintzler’s sinker, a pitch more likely to produce a double-play opportunity. “I’m trying to get Kintz, who is probably better at getting a ground ball in that situation, to have a chance to get us off the field,” he said.

It didn't work. Kipnis singled to end the game.

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    Hector Santiago still felt some mild soreness in his thumb during Monday’s start, but far less than he was in his last couple of outings, he said. That mild injury caused the Twins to postpone his start last Friday until tonight. 

    “I made some adjustments. I still felt it, it’s still there, but the extra two days helped out,” Santiago said. The thumb doesn’t bother him when he throws his fastball, he said, because he doesn’t dig his thumb into the laces as part of that grip. “It’s mostly on changeups and sliders,” he said. “It’s getting better.”

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    The Twins rented a suite and held their annual fantasy football draft Sunday night, with Twins fan and former pro tennis player Mardy Fish taking part, as he has for the past four seasons, via Skype.

    Pat Dean and Michael Tonkin used their first pick to select Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, but “I’ve got the best team,” Ryan Pressly said confidently; he took Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. Being a Dallas native and lifelong Cowboys fan, he also grabbed tight end Jason Witten.

    Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t drafted, the players said, and Fish wound up with Adrian Peterson. “I’ll give you one guess who took Tom Brady,” Pressly said. That would be Worcester, Mass., native and Patriots fan Ryan O’Rourke.

Twins want to keep one streak alive tonight: Their success vs. Bauer

    CLEVELAND — There’s all kinds of history the Twins would like to avoid tonight. They’ve only had three other 11-game losing streaks in franchise history, for instance; the Twins would prefer not to make it four tonight. They can become only the fourth team in major-league history to allow eight or more runs in seven straight games, but that too is one they’d like to avoid.

    One part of history they would like to extend, however: Indians starter Trevor Bauer has started 10 games against Minnesota in his career, and the Twins have won eight of them, including the last four in a row. Considering he is 9-6 this season and owns a 3.88 ERA, that’s a pretty amazing streak against a good pitcher. It has Paul Molitor a little worried, too.

    “We’ve had some games where we’ve had fairly good results, yet if you look at our matchup numbers, really only a couple of guys have done particularly well,” the Twins manager said. “I think what he found out last time out was that his curveball is a good pitch against some of our hitters, especially our left-handed guys. So we’ll have to make adjustments if we want to have a good night.”

    Logan Schafer is in uniform tonight, wearing No. 32, and will play center field, batting ninth. Danny Santana, placed on the disabled list today, was examined by Twins doctors in Minneapolis, but he’ll be out at least two weeks with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder, the result of a collision with Robbie Grossman in the outfield in Toronto on Sunday.

    Miguel Sano is at third base tonight for the first time since Aug. 18 and only the fourth time this month. His elbow is mostly pain-free, Molitor said, and he’s been working hard to improve his defense. “I don’t think he’s missed a day of work defensively, probably, in the last month,” Molitor said. “Even day games, when we haven’t [taken batting practice], he’s still gone out there and done some type of short-hop drill.”

    Hector Santiago returns to the mound tonight, hoping to stop the Twins’ 10-game losing streak. Here are the lineups:

TWINS    

 

Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Plouffe DH

Sano 3B

Kepler RF

Polanco SS

Rosario LF

Centeno C

Schafer CF

 

Santiago RHP

 

INDIANS

 

Davis CF

Kipnis 2B

Lindor SS

Napoli 1B

Santana DH

Ramirez 3B

Guyer LF

Almonte RF

Perez C

 

Bauer RHP

6:10 PM (FSN)
Minnesota 49-82
Cleveland 74-56