KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brian Dozier has been in the Twins’ starting lineup for 113 consecutive games, and he told manager Paul Molitor he wanted to keep playing through the season’s final game. Molitor agreed — then changed his mind.
“Last night kind of pushed me in the other direction,” Molitor said of Dozier’s 0-for-5 night, which dropped him to 1-for-27 (.037) in his last six games. “I went back to him today — I think he’s been pushing so hard for so long, trying to do the right thing by playing, setting an example. I’m hoping just backing him off mentally today will help him get through Chicago” this weekend.
Dozier has started every game since May 25, so wearing down now, particularly under the weight of 102 losses, is understandable. Dozier hasn’t had a two-hit game since Sept. 14, and he’s batting .137 (7-for-51) with one home run in his last 12 games. The second baseman is still chasing the MLB mark for most home runs by a second baseman, and Molitor believes not playing tonight actually gives him a better chance of reaching that mark in Chicago, where Dozier has homered three times already this year.
“When you get tired, you start muscling the ball,” Molitor said. “He’s down to 12 at-bats, roughly. We’ll give up three tonight to try to make the last 12 really good.”
With Dozier out, Eduardo Escobar gets the start at second base, his first time at that position since the final game of the 2015 season. Kyle Gibson gets the start as the Twins try to prevent being swept in all 10 games at Kauffman Stadium this season, and try to avoid setting the franchise record for losses.
Here are tonight’s lineups:
E. Escobar 2B
A. Escobar SS