Eduardo Escobar is on an odd, one that his manager hopes continues today. The utility man has hits in seven games this month, but he's had more games of three or more hits (4) than games with just one (3). It adds up to a .348 average this month, and a .522 slugging percentage, enough to convince Paul Molitor to bat him fifth.
"We've talked about the middle of the lineup, how we kind of mix it up and change it every day Today, with [Chris] Herrmann catching [in place of Kurt Suzuki], we tried to find a five-hole guy, and I went with the hot hand," Molitor said. "Hopefully he can keep it going out there today."
He'll face Chris Archer, which is not an easy assignment. Archer was one of the AL's best pitchers in April, going four straight starts without an earned run and posting an 0.84 ERA. He hasn't been the same guy in May, giving up 11 runs in his last three starts — that's a 6.06 ERA — but Molitor assumes the Twins will see the good one today.
"He's a charismatic guy out there on the mind. He's got a lot of personality, and he's one of the more talented younger pitchers in our game," Molitor said. "He's got a lot of things he can do to get people out. He can spin it, slow it down, it just makes for a tough at-bat."
The Twins are playing for a sweep, their second of the season, before they head out on another road trip to Pittsburgh and Chicago. They'll need to beat the rain to get it — it's sunny at Target Field at the moment, but showers are expected late this afternoon.
Here are the lineups for the finale of this three-game series with Tampa Bay: