Light rain continues at Target Field, but a handful of players from both teams have emerged occasionally to throw a little bit. I watched Jose Berrios throw in the outfield for about 15 minutes, then spend another 10 minutes or so signing autographs for fans braving the weather. The forecast calls for persistent rain, but perhaps never heavy. The Twins will have a decision to make about whether to play in the rain or call the season over after 161 games.
Paul Molitor said he would like to get the game in, just to keep his players sharp ahead of Tuesday’s wild-card playoff game in New York. He would like to get all of his starters at least two at-bats, with a notable exception: Miguel Sano, who needs as many at-bats as possible as he returns from a shin injury.
It’s possible that the game could also have an impact on Bartolo Colon’s chances of being on the postseason roster, though Molitor deflected questions about that. Colon obviously will not be on the roster for Tuesday’s game, and it’s not certain whether he would be needed in a potential Division Series against Cleveland — whether Jose Berrios also pitches Tuesday, and for how long, could play a role as well. Suffice it to say, the Twins would like to see Colon shake off his recent problems, like the 13.50 ERA in his last four starts, and return to the form he displayed a month ago.
The Twins, who depart for the airport immediately after the game to fly to New York, also have reason to be cautious about risking injury on a slick field. And the Tigers have played only 161 games each of the past two seasons anyway, though the Twins haven’t fewer than 162 since 2002.
Molitor said 30 players will travel to New York, giving him flexibility before the roster is finalized Tuesday morning. The five players who are scratched will be in uniform and in the dugout for the game, while the players left behind in Minnesota will work out Monday and Tuesday at Target Field, in case the Twins advance to the Division Series.
Should they play, here are the lineups for the final game of the 2017 regular season: