It's Friday. Memorial Day weekend is here. And the Twins are in first place.
Will the Twins start to see a success-related spike in attendance?
Checked with one club official this afternoon, and they are hoping for 80,000 this weekend against the Rays and a really nice crowd on Monday when the Astros come to town. The club has noticed an increase in walkup sales during the last couple of homestands and, with school ending and the weather turning nice, they anticipate a response to how well the club has been playing.
I'm being asked if the Twins are for real several times a day. I'm not quite there yet, but if they can remain over .500 they should be in the wild card race. And, as we see them play more teams, there have been few moments where they have looked overmatched.
Pitching will be the key. They can't afford any more injuries to the starting rotation. And they could use a power arm in the bullpen.
Here are a couple things to watch tonight and this weekend:
Target Field will be the site for a center field showdown between the Twins' Byron Buxton and the Rays' Kevin Kiermaier. Kiermaier is outstanding in the field, but did have a clunker defensive game recently that has affected his overall numbers. But he has range and is fearless. Buxton already is one of the best center fielders in the game and has made several outstanding plays this season. It will be hard to hit a ball past these two stud defender.
Hector Santiago is on the mound tonight, looking for his first win since May 9. He's has terrible problems with left-handed hitters, as they are 13-for-26 against him with three home runs. Santiago needs his change up to shut them down but has not had the right feel for the pitch in recent outings.
Tampa Bay has four lefties on their roster, and three of them are in the lineup tonight.
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Miguel Sano, 3B
Max Kepler, RF
Kennys Vargas, DH
Jorge Polanco, SS
Eddie Rosario, LF
Byron Buxton, CF
Jason Castro, C
Hector Santiago, LHP