CLEVELAND — The Twins will find out later tonight if Mike Pelfrey’s burst of wildness last Sunday was a hiccup or a problem. The tall right-hander walked to Progressive Field from his downtown hotel today, and the Twins hope that’s the extent of the walking he does tonight. Pelfrey lost control of the strike zone against the White Sox and hit three batters in an inning, forcing him out of the game after recording only 10 outs. “Even in the games where he’s pitched well, he’s had a couple of little, brief stints where, all of a sudden, it’s hard” to throw strikes, manager Paul Molitor said. “Seven or eight pitches, whatever it is, let’s regroup here.”
The Twins hope that game is just a blip — or “a clunker,” Molitor said — because the pitcher who faced Kansas City and Detroit to end April was the sort the Twins have been looking for since he arrived in 2013 — throwing hard, keeping hitters off balance. He pitched 14 innings in those games and allowed only one earned run.
Molitor has moved Eddie Rosario to left field for the first time since spring training tonight, a position he’s confident the rookie can handle well. The problem with doing so, the manager said, is that it means benching Eduardo Escobar tonight, after the utility man went 7-for-14 with a homer, three doubles and seven RBIs in this week’s series with Oakland.
“It’s challenging. I am pleased we’ve been able to get him as many at-bats as we have to this point. I want that to continue,” Molitor said. “But you’re not going to play every one of them. So tonight we have a little different look.”
The Twins took two out of three against the Indians last month. This weekend series completes a home-and-home rotation against every AL Central team already this season.
Here are tonight’s lineups: