PITTSBURGH — The flurries have been coming down intermittently all day, and the sun comes out occasionally, but the snow got serious about 10 minutes ago. Tonight’s forecast says these flakes won’t last, and they won’t stick, but they set the tone for the start of what promises to be a frozen weekend of baseball for the Twins, tonight at PNC Park, and starting tomorrow at Target Field.
Tonight’s game begins at 6 p.m. EDT, and even that was a sticking point between these two teams. The Pirates originally scheduled the game for 7 p.m., to the dismay of the visitors from Minnesota, whose own home opener is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. tomorrow. The Twins asked Pittsburgh to switch the game time to a 1 p.m. start, but the Pirates hoped for a big enough first-week crowd to justify the night game.
A compromise of sorts was reached when the Twins pointed out that, under MLB’s collective bargaining agreement, if tonight’s game was scheduled for 7 p.m., and included a flight home longer than 90 minutes, the Twins would not be allowed to schedule a day game on Thursday. The Pirates gave in, but the Twins will still experience a rarity this week: A day game after a night game, with a change of cities in between.
Given the odd scheduling, the Twins sent Kyle Gibson to Minneapolis about an hour ago — he said he hopes to catch the last few innings on TV after he lands — so he can be rested for his start tomorrow when the Mariners visit Target Field.
Nothing the Twins can do about the schedule or the weather, except for try to get through it intact. It’s 38 degrees at the moment, and will be close to freezing by the final out. The snow is supposed to subside, however.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game. Joe Mauer is on the bench for the first time this season, though it’s mostly because Paul Molitor didn’t want Logan Morrison to go three days without playing.