Derek Falvey knew the Indians’ signs when he left Cleveland last fall to become the Twins’ chief baseball officer. So that could come in handy tonight, right, Paul Molitor?
“I’ve known Tito’s for a couple years,” Molitor joked of Indians manager Terry Francona.
OK then. Falvey did provide the Twins’ coaching staff with a personal scouting report on his former team, which is in town for a four-game series starting tonight at 7:10. “There were some things maybe that wouldn’t jump out at you, in terms of numbers,” Molitor said. “Whether they will be game-changers or not, we’ll have to see, but we’ll take all the information, inside trading if you will, and try to use it the best way we can.”
Information is great, but he’d like a strong pitching performance from Kyle Gibson even more. The righthander has had a couple of identical starts: Strong at first, and then susceptible to a big inning. Gibson has allowed three home runs in nine innings, so he’ll try to cut that down today.
He’ll do it with a slightly scrambled defense behind him. Robbie Grossman is in right field for the second straight night, but this time, Max Kepler moves to center field, bumping the slumping Byron Buxton back to the bench. Molitor has been looking for positive signs in Buxton’s plate appearances, but “he’s still sped up to the point where it’s making it really hard for him to handle both velocity and off speed at the same time,” he said.
Miguel Sano will spend tonight as the designated hitter, while Eduardo Escobar takes his spot at third base.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game, the first of four with Cleveland: