DETROIT — They’re back at the scene of the crime, but Paul Molitor doesn’t want the Twins thinking that way.
It’s only been five weeks since the Twins were blasted for three games here at Comerica Park, a series that ended with a cumulative 22-1 score. But Molitor, the Twins’ new manager whose career started with that ugliness, said he’s not here to get any revenge for what happened last month. The season is too long to think that way.
“I’m not going to put too much stock in that,” Molitor said. “We feel like we’ve competed with pretty much everybody we’ve played in the past month. The Tigers series up in Minnesota was very competitive. So you’re just not sure how it’s going to work out. Obviously, we hope to continue with some of the things we’ve done lately.”
He means: winning. The Twins are 18-11 since leaving here last month, while the Tigers are 16-13. With a win tonight, Minnesota could actually have an identical record to Detroit, which didn’t seem possible back then. So Molitor prefers the Twins think forward, not backward.
He’ll have a new weapon in the lineup, too. Aaron Hicks arrived around noon today, ready to resume his major-league career after a .336/.415/.561 start to the season at Class AAA Rochester. “It’s very exciting. I still had trouble sleeping last night,” Hicks said. What the difference between Hicks today, and the player who twice played himself out of the major leagues? “I started the season strong,” Hicks said, so he has more confidence than ever before.
Hicks will be here for at least this series, after outfielder Shane Robinson was placed on the Family Emergency List, which allows the Twins to replace him for between three and seven days. Robinson and the Twins prefer to keep his situation private, but he won’t be here in Detroit.
Hicks is in center field tonight, one of four switch-hitters at the bottom of the Twins’ lineup — Kennys Vargas, Eduardo Escobar, Hicks and Danny Santana.
Kyle Gibson pitches tonight, hoping to extend his 17-inning shutout streak.
It’s a cold, cloudy, blustery evening in Detroit, with a current temperature of 54 degrees and falling. Coincidentally, when the Twins and Tigers waited out a three-hour rain delay on Aug. 9, they had already agreed on today as the make-up date, for a day-night doubleheader. It was 59 degrees that day.
Here are tonight’s lineups:
V. Martinez DH
J.D. Martinez RF