FORT MYERS, Fla. — I’m told the gates to the Hammond Stadium parking lot opened at 6 a.m. this morning, so there’s a real Vikings pregame going on out there now. It’s Minnesota Day at the ballpark, a tailgate event that just gets bigger every year. I suspect trading snowed-under weather for today’s 80 degrees makes the gathering even more raucous than usual.
(Shout out to my fellow Afton residents, holding a small but boisterous party near Field 6.)
When all those Twins fans make their way inside, they’ll get to witness, however briefly, an Opening Day-quality pitching matchup between Jose Berrios and Jake Arrieta. Neither is likely to pitch more than three innings, but it’s unusual for a pitcher of Arrieta’s stature, a former Cy Young winner, to make such a long bus ride — the Phillies train in Clearwater, about two and a half hours away — this early in camp.
OK, Bryce Harper didn’t make the trip, but Philadelphia’s lineup includes a couple of starters, too, in first baseman Rhys Hoskins and catcher J.T. Realmuto, while the Twins are playing eight projected regulars. Most of them will be out of the game after five innings, but this is a lot of major-league regulars for a Grapefruit League game. Former Twin Shane Robinson is in the lineup, too.
The game will be televised on Fox Sports North, using a simulcast with WCCO Radio that features Marney Gellner on play-by-play.
It’s also the Twins’ second split-squad day of the spring, so half the clubhouse boarded buses a few minutes ago, headed up Daniels Parkway to jetBlue Stadium, where they will face the Red Sox. Stephen Gonsalves will start that game, and Willians Astudillo, a day after his first spring home run, will bat third and catch Gonsalves.
Here are the lineups for today’s games: