Ian Kennedy hasn’t won a game since April 7, and hasn’t recorded a win against the Twins since 2016. He’s also missed the last 10 days with a strained left oblique. So maybe Kansas City’s veteran righthander is exactly who the Twins want to face as they try to match their longest winning streak of the past three seasons.
They’ve won five in a row, and will give Aaron Slegers his second start of the season tonight. The 6-foot-10 righthander has one other major-league appearance this season, and it’s relevant: he pitched 5 1/3 innings against the Royals in May, in relief of Fernando Romero, and allowed only two runs.
The Twins won six straight games last August, and had another streak of six in a row in 2015. But that’s been it for the past seven seasons; their last streak that long was in 2011, a stretch that reached eight games. So they’re accomplishing what they need to during this homestand against the American League’s two worst teams.
“We’ve played better. Just looking for signs of life,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “The heartbeat was a little hard to hear, but we’ve responded. You don’t want to get overly excited, but it’s what we needed to do. We’ll keep pushing.”
Cleveland has lost three straight games, so the Twins’ deficit in the AL Central is down to 8 1/2 games, the smallest it’s been this month.
With Kennedy on the mound, left-handers Logan Morrison and Jake Cave are back in the Twins’ batting order tonight. Here are the lineups:
H. Dozier 1B
A. Escobar CF
B. Dozier 2B
E. Escobar 3B