CHICAGO — Jose Quintana, who starts for the White Sox today, is left handed, and that gave Paul Molitor pause when he thought about his Twins lineup. Four of the Twins’ regulars bat left-handed, too, and Molitor generally doesn’t plan on playing all four of them with a lefty on the mound.
But when he checked out the numbers, he decided to use the starters after all.
“I thought about it after the game last night, but I didn’t really land on anything until this morning,” Molitor said. “But our lefties have done OK against [Quintana], and in general, lefties do OK against him.”
Indeed, Quintana has shown far less of a platoon split than most starting pitchers over the course of his five-year major league career. Righthanders bat .260 against him, left-handers .252. Even the slugging percentages, .398 (RHB) vs. .386 (LHB), are fairly close. And Joe Mauer, Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler are all batting above .300 with Quintana on the mound, and Jason Castro is at .265.
“With Ervin [Santana] on the mound, I thought about defense, and how we could split up the lefties if all four were back there,” Molitor said.
What he came up with is an interesting hybrid, with righthanders alternating with lefties, and a few players landing in unfamiliar spots. Kepler, for instance, is at the bottom of the order for the first time in his career, while Castro, the Twins’ leading hitter so far this season, slots in at No. 5. Mauer moves up one spot from Saturday’s batting order, while Byron Buxton moves down one.
Miguel Sano is batting cleanup, and is back at third base a day after committing two errors. Molitor said he isn’t bothered by one of them, but the manager planned to chat with Sano about the other.
“There are plays that warrant having discussions about, when you see a teaching opportunity. Asking the player what he thought,” Molitor said. “If it’s just a matter of a ball deflecting off his glove, that’s baseball. The judgement and his thought process on the [botched] rundown, that’s something I would be more interested in talking to him about today.”
Here are the lineups for Sunday’s series finale in Chicago, where Santana will try to improve to 2-0:
A. Garcia RF