The Twins haven’t swept a three-game series since the Red Sox were here in late May, so this afternoon’s series finale with the Orioles is a relatively big opportunity. Paul Molitor has said he wants his team to be roughly break-even on the road and build a real home-field advantage at Target Field, and this is the sort of game they should win to make that happen.
Then again, Baltimore presents a real challenge for Tommy Milone. The Orioles are a team built for slugging, and while Milone has been terrific since he returned from the minors more than a month ago, Baltimore is the sort of team that only needs a couple of mistakes to score runs.
On the mound for Baltimore is Ubaldo Jimenez, who has six quality starts in seven appearances against the Twins. He’s also struck out 10 batters in each of his last three starts against the Twins, and is 4-1 with a 2.08 in Minnesota. The Dominican has been only so-so on the road this year, so it should be an intriguing matchup.
Milone will be pitching to Eric Fryer, who arrived late Tuesday night and was activated for today’s game.
Miguel Sano is back in the cleanup spot for the Twins, and he’ll make his major-league debut in the field, playing third base. Sano made 15 errors in 63 games at third for Chattanooga, and hasn’t played the position since last Tuesday, so it will be interesting to see how he looks. Trevor Plouffe moves over to first, allowing Joe Mauer to serve as the DH for a day.
Here are the lineups for today’s 12:10 game, which will not be televised in the Twin Cities: