CHICAGO — Only twice in a full season has a Twins pitching staff not had a 10-game winner, and both instances happened during the past six seasons — 2011 and 2013. The 2016 season will be added to that regrettable list unless Tyler Duffey can beat the White Sox for the first time in his career.
Duffey, 9-11 with a 6.18 ERA, will face lefthander Carlos Rodon in the first game of the season’s final series — unless rain intervenes. Showers have persisted much of the day, and the field at U.S. Cellular Field remains covered, but the teams hope to get the game in tonight. The alternative is a doubleheader tomorrow, yet another weather-related obstacle in a season full of them. “We’ve had a lot of experience with that this year,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I’m trying to stay optimistic.”
He feels the same way about Duffey, whose season has been a disappointment, but one that the Twins are willing to chalk up to the growing pains of a 25-year-old. “We still have been trying to encourage him to incorporate a changeup a little bit to give the hitters another thing to think about,” Molitor said. “Counts seem to make a big difference in how he does. When he gets ahead, he gets hitters to chase.”
Brian Dozier is back in the lineup tonight, ready to resume his chase of 100 RBIs — he need one more — and his chase of the MLB record for home runs by a second baseman — he needs two. Dozier took his first day off since May on Thursday, and “I hope it helps a little,” Molitor said. “You try to gauge those things, what can one day do. A lot of times, you get a chance to back off [from] the mental grind, it can help. He’s been out there every day for a long time.”
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game, if it happens:
L. Garcia CF