SAN FRANCISCO — It’s a day game after a night game, so the Twins’ lineup looks a little different on Saturday. Catcher Jason Castro is out, as usual, giving way to Chris Gimenez for a day despite riding an 11-game hitting streak. Joe Mauer has the day off, allowing Kennys Vargas a chance to pull a ball into San Francisco Bay. And Byron Buxton, who has had hits in three of his last four games, takes a break, allowing Eddie Rosario to play for the first time since Wednesday.
“I’m just trying to keep [Castro] as strong as I can,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It’s a long road trip.”
An encouraging one for the Twins, though, after a 1-5 homestand. They are 5-3 with two games left to play. Jose Berrios starts for the second time on the trip today, trying to follow up his six-inning, two-run outing in Anaheim with another strong start. Pitching wins don’t necessarily correlate to how well you pitch, but it’s notable that Berrios, who has barely been in the majors for a month, could rack up his fifth win — only Ervin Santana has that many for the Twins — with a good start today.
Tomorrow’s starter, lefthander Nik Turley, walked into the clubhouse after a cross-country flight around 11 a.m., and began introducing himself to teammates. Since he didn’t come up with the Twins and wasn’t in major-league camp this spring, he knows virtually none of the Twins. He’ll start tomorrow, and Molitor made it clear that it’s not a one-off (depending on how well he pitches, obviously). The Twins still have 10 more games to play before their next off day, including next Saturday’s double header with the Indians, so a good showing tomorrow by the former 50th round pick would almost certainly earn him another start.
Minnesota will face Jeff Samardzija today, a righthander who’s pitched better than his 2-7 record and 4.29 ERA may suggest. For one thing, he’s 4-0 with a 3.67 ERA against in his last five starts against the Twins. And since the beginning of May, Samardzija has struck out 59 hitters and walked only one.
Here are the lineups for the second game of this three-game interleague series: