DETROIT -- After going 9-17 in April, the Twins are 8-18 for May with one game to play before flipping the calendar.
Lefthander Brian Duensing gets the start, and the Tigers are 12-4 this year against lefthanded starters.
Detroit counters with righthander Max Scherzer, who gave up seven runs over two innings against the Red Sox last Thursday but has been terrific overall this year. The signs were there for Scherzer last season, when he went 11-7 with a 2.46 ERA in 23 starts beginning May 30.
Every year, players find something and begin to establish themselves at random parts of the season. The Twins might be 18 games below .500, but every day is a possible turning point for individual players, and by extension, their teams.
Update: As expected, Jason Kubel is not in the starting lineup. He's still day-to-day and remains confident this won't keep him out of the lineup for long.
Justin Morneau has been playing with a pinched nerve in his neck and left shoulder weakness, and today, Manager Ron Gardenhire said this is something that probably won't get better as the season goes along. Gardenhire has spoken to Morneau about going on the DL, but Morneau has been told by doctors that a DL stint probably won't help either, so he's going to just keep playing with it.
Meanwhile, Joe Mauer continues to struggle through a slow recovery in Fort Myers. A long story that I'll touch on more in the notebook, but no one is sure when he'll start catching down there, let alone in the majors. Asked today if it's possible Mauer will play another position this year, Gardenhire said the following:
No, Joe’s a catcher. He’s coming back as a catcher. He signed an eight-year deal to catch in the big leagues for the Minnesota Twins, so we’re trying to get him back as a catcher. If it doesn’t work out when he comes back, then we’re going to have to figure somewhere else, and that’s a lot harder than everybody makes it out to be. We have some corner people who are pretty good baseball players, and try not to fire the really good players that we have.
He could play anywhere, Joe could probably move around pretty good. He played in the infield as a young player; we could probably make him the tallest shortstop since Cal Ripken. But right now he’s a catcher -- until Joe deems that he can’t do it anymore, or we deem that he’s not physically able to do that. But we believe he is, if he just gets healthy.
Oh, and Francisco Liriano said his left shoulder has been bothering him on and off since spring training. He had two specialists look at the results of his recent MRI exam and was assured he has inflammation and tendonitis. He still hopes to start next Tuesday in Cleveland. More on him in the notebook, too.
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. Rene Rivera, C
9. Matt Tolbert, SS
Starting pitcher: LH Brain Duensing (2-5, 4.83 ERA)
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Casper Wells, RF
3. Brennan Boesch, DH
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, C
6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
7. Brandon Inge, 3B
8. Ryan Raburn, LF
9. Danny Worth, 2B
Starting pitcher: RH Max Scherzer (6-2, 3.86)
Comerica Park. First pitch: 6:05 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network