CHICAGO — Max Kepler ate something that made him sick, or came down with a late-summer flu bug. Whatever the cause, the Twins outfielder “didn’t have a really good night, [and] struggled a bit this morning,” according to manager Paul Molitor, and didn’t come to the ballpark with his teammates.
Molitor is hopeful that Kepler will feel better as the evening goes along and eventually comes to Guaranteed Rate Park. Perhaps he’ll even be available to pinch-hit or play the outfield late in the game. But Molitor is proceeding as though he’s out for the night.
That means utility infielder Ehire Adrianza will play left field tonight, with Eddie Rosario moving across the outfield to Kepler’s usual spot in right. Molitor said he considered Mitch Garver, who has a half-dozen games of experience in the outfield at Triple-A, and Chris Gimenez, who has played out there a handful of times this season. But “Adrianza is a good athlete,” Molitor said. “Gimenez or Garver could go out and do a good job, but I’ll take the speed edge, as well as him just having really good hands.”
With Kepler, Miguel Sano and Robbie Grossman all sidelined, the Twins’ lineups are taking on some unique shapes. For instance: Jorge Polanco, who homered twice on Monday and is in the midst of the hottest streak of his career, moves into the third slot today, for the first time in his career. Similarly, Byron Buxton will bat fifth, becoming the 12th different Twin to occupy that spot in the starting lineup this year.
“It’s something you want to be mindful and thoughtful about. Guys don’t know where they’re going to show up” in the lineup each day, Molitor said. “I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I think they’ve all been responding really well.”
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:
L. Garcia LF
A. Garcia RF