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.
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.”
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.