In a suite of offices just beyond the left-field foul pole, decisions will be made tonight that will affect the Twins for years to come. But down on the field, Paul Molitor wants to accomplish something a little more immediate: Sweep the Miami Marlins.
If the Twins can do it, it would be mildly historic — only the second three-game sweep of an interleague series in Target Field history. The Twins took three from the Padres here in 2011, but haven’t been able to repeat the feat since.
As for Molitor, he’s had no input into who the Twins will select with the 15th pick in tonight’s draft, a choice that will be revealed around 7:20 tonight. And he’s not thinking about a sweep as much as he’s trying to encourage a weeks-long stretch of good baseball.
“I think of it more in terms of putting together a good run, not necessarily a winning streak. You just want to play baseball over a period of time where the wins start coming a little bit more frequently,” the Twins manager said. “When you get the opportunity to sweep, I always compare it to a hitter — when you get those first couple of hits, you get greedy. You want to add on that third and fourth one if you can.”
Ervin Santana will try to deliver the Twins’ third sweep of the season — they took three from the Angels in April and from the Mariners in May — and he’ll break his own four-game winless streak. Santana, 1-5 with a 4.50 ERA has given up 14 runs in his last three starts, but Molitor has confidence he’ll bounce back.
Santana has given up 11 extra-base hits to Ichiro Suzuki over the years, by the way, more than any pitcher, so it will be interesting to watch that matchup. Ichiro already has five hits in the first two games of the series.
Here are tonight’s lineups for the series finale: