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

Twins open homestand with best record since 2010

    At 25-18, the Twins open a weeklong homestand at Target Field today with their best record since the final day of the 2010 season. 

    Brian Dozier hopes you’ve noticed.

    “You don’t want to get too high or too low in this game, but at the same time, we’re going good, and I think people need to see that,” said the Twins’ second baseman, who has played in 429 games in his career, but only 192 victories. “Get on the bandwagon and come on with us. We’re going good, so let’s go.”

    The clubhouse excitement is understandable; Dozier has played in 429 games in his career, but only 192 victories, so he has good reason to enjoy it. “Every time you win,” he said, “you enjoy it as much as possible.”

    The Twins had optimism as they left spring camp, but not as much Fort Myers’ other spring residents, the Red Sox. But while the Twins’ pitching has taken a big step forward from a year ago, Boston’s has fallen apart. Four of the Red Sox’ five starters own ERAs over 5.00, and as a result, Boston has had only one winning streak even three games long so far this season. The Red Sox have been outscored by 32 runs this year, the second-worst differential (after Chicago) in the American League.

    The teams will play seven times in the next 11 days, beginning with this Memorial Day matinee, so it’ll feel a little like spring training.

    It’s worth remembering that the last time these teams met in the regular season, last July in Fenway Park, the Twins held the Red Sox to five runs in three games — and got swept. On the other hand, none of the three Boston starters who held the Twins to two runs in the series remain on the roster. And the Twins have been hitting lately.

    Both teams will wear special Memorial Day uniforms for the 1 p.m. game, with camouflage brims on the caps, and camouflage lettering on the uniforms.

    Here are the lineups for today’s game:

RED SOX

 

Pedroia 2B

Betts CF

Ortiz DH

Ramirez LF

Sandoval 3B

Napoli 1B

Bogaerts SS

Nava RF

Swihart C

 

Kelly RHP

 

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Hunter RF

Mauer 1B

Plouffe 3B

Suzuki C

Escobar SS

Nunez DH

Rosario LF

Hicks CF

 

Nolasco RHP

Three postgame thoughts: Gibson, a new prediction and partying

GIBSON SURGING: Since his first start of the season, Kyle Gibson has posted a 1.88 ERA. One thing he does better than a lot of pitchers in the league is that he can throw inside effectively. He hit one batter on Sunday - J.B. Shuck in the eighth, and Shuck slammed his bat in frustration. But pitching inside opens up the other half of the plate. And getting ahead in the count made all his pitches weapons on Sunday. ``(Chris) Herrmann did a good job of figuring out which pitches were working and when they were working,'' Gibson said, ``He called a good game back there. It was fun being on the same page as him.''
 

I'M STARTING TO CHANGE MY OPINION: I predicted 75 wins at the beginning of the season. I was concerned about the bullpen, wasn't sure about the back end of the rotation and figured prospects would be up by the end of the year, which would affect the win total. Then Ervin Santana was suspended, and I dropped the total to 72. I'm still not sure about the bullpen being able to sustain its success throughout the season. But this team is confident. It has been resilient. The starting rotation is has pitched into the sixth inning for nearly two weeks. They are fifth in RISP, which means several players are contributing so no one feels it's all on their shoulders. Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier continue to get better. Torii Hunter and Eddie Guardado have changed the atmosphere in the clubhouse. There are more positives than I thought there would be. And as long as they remain over .500, the front office's thinking will have to conform to the record and spend the next few weeks considering moves to upgrade the roster. I now think this team can win 80-82 games.

DON'T STOP THE PARTY: One of the Twins team-building exercises has been their dance party after win at home, when they turn on fog machines and laser lights and make the player of the game has get things going by dancing in the middle of the clubhouse. Molitor was asked if the party should continue after wins on the road. ``I haven't had a lot of time to figure out if it is good or bad or indifferent,'' Molitor said. ``If they want to bring them, I'll leave it up to Hot Rod. He's the one who would have to deal with it.'' Hot Rod is Rod McCormick, the Twins equipment manager, who probably has enough on his hands. Molitor said he watched the celebration a couple times just to see what would happen, but now just walks around it. he was also asked who the worst dancer on the team was. ``Of the small glimpses I have seen,'' he said, ``I would have to say our closer.''

1:10 PM (FSN)
Boston 21-23
Minnesota 25-18

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