TORONTO — If nothing else, two days under the Rogers Centre roof have removed “the doom and gloom of getting swept” in Kansas City, Paul Molitor said Wednesday. Back-to-back victories over the Blue Jays have reset the AL Central standings as they were at the break: Minnesota trails Cleveland by 7 1/2 games.
“You’ve lost five days and haven’t picked up ground, I guess,” Molitor said. “But that’s the unpredictability when there are so many games involved.”
With the roof expected to be opened shortly before the 3:07 p.m. (CDT) first pitch, today’s finale will be played under the bright Canadian sunshine. And that’s not the only reason that things might be getting sunnier for the Twins.
Ervin Santana is back. Today is Game No. 100 for the Twins, but it’s Game No. 1 for their former All-Star, and Molitor acknowledged that there’s some excitement surrounding his debut.
“We were all anticipating this for a long time,” Molitor said. “I hope he’s experienced enough to not put too much pressure on himself to try to make up for four lost months in one start.”
Molitor said he’s not worried about Santana’s reduced velocity, because he doesn’t necessarily need it. “I’ll be watching more for how [often] he’s getting the ball where he’s trying to get it, rather than how hard he’s throwing it,” the manager said. “I know if he makes his pitches and mixes them up, he should be fine. But you’ve got to be happy to have Ervin back.”
Here are the lineups as the Twins try to finish off their first sweep in Canada since 2003: