LOS ANGELES — They’re expecting some huge crowds for the Twins’ first visit to Dodger Stadium in 12 years, though the fact that today is Justin Turner Jersey Night and Wednesday is Clayton Kershaw Bobblehead Night may have something to do with it, too. But the Twins haven’t played before a crowd of 48,000 or more since the last days of the Metrodome, so it’s possible this might be a novel experience for some of the Twins.
It certainly is for Paul Molitor, who has never taken part in a game at Chavez Ravine, in any capacity. He was on the 1980 AL All-Star Team that played here, but he was injured and didn’t play. And in 1988, he worked out here in October with a team of major leaguers on their way to a postseason tour of Japan.
So the Twins’ manager said there will be a bit of a thrill about tonight’s opener of the three-game series here tonight.
“A classic park that’s still around,” Molitor said. “It’s fun for me to be a part of it.”
He’ll have a lot more fun if Bartolo Colon can turn in a quality start, something he showed signs of in his Twins debut last Tuesday at Target Field. “He’s excited about getting a chance to get back out there after a start that showed a few glimpses of things he’s capable of, but didn’t last particularly long,” Molitor said, referring to Colon’s four-inning start against the Yankees. “Hopefully it’s more of the same that we saw particularly early in that game, and that he can extend it into the middle innings.”
Molitor wouldn’t say it, but Colon’s job might be at stake. The Twins traded for Jaime Garcia on Monday afternoon, and Colon is the most obvious candidate to lose his rotation spot. If Colon pitches six innings or so, Molitor might have a decision to wrestle over. “I’d rather wrestle with having pitchers pitch well,” he said, “than have to desperately pick one of them to stay.”
The infielders were talking before the game about how fast the infield is here, with extremely short grass that allows balls to scoot through. And the corners are rounded, with low fences just 330 feet away, so it’s possible to get some cheap home runs if you hug the lines.
The Dodgers have won 13 of their last 15 games, and 33 of their last 39, so they are easily the game’s hottest team. Here are the lineups for the first of three here in Los Angeles: