KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs open the NFL season tonight in New England, so it will be interesting to see how many locals come out to the ballpark to watch the Royals. A guard near the Twins’ dugout said he couldn’t give away his tickets for tonight. But after three days in St. Petersburg, the Twins are used to small crowds.
The talk in the clubhouse is about Hurricane Irma, of course. The Puerto Ricans are relieved that the storm mostly veered away from the island, the Dominicans are staying in touch with home to make sure everyone is safe — Ervin Santana said he’s talked to his relatives a few times already today, just to make sure — and the Floridans are approaching the next couple of days with increasing alarm as the storm veers toward the mainland.
The Twins are taking no chances, general manager Thad Levine said. Their Fort Myers headquarters was shut down earlier today, and the team hired buses to take the entire Miracle team, eliminated last night from the now-cancelled Florida State League playoffs, to Atlanta to catch flights home. Any players headed to the Caribbean will be housed in Atlanta until they can get home.
The Twins’ Dominican complex, though, is being used as a shelter as the storm passes, since several players, most of them Venezuelans, could not get flights. The Twins also offered to house any Dominican players who feel safer at the complex — which was designed to withstand hurricanes — and their families on the site.
Back in Missouri, the Twins will try to build upon their win in Tampa Bay yesterday, with Kyle Gibson on the mound. Gibson has a 3.18 ERA in his six career starts gee, though has hasn’t recorded a win in Kauffman Stadium since 2015. He’ll be opposed by righthander Sam Gaviglio, who will be making his Royals debut. Gaviglio, claimed off waivers from Seattle last week, allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Twins at Target Field in June.
Speaking of Target Field, the news from there wasn’t good today. Miguel Sano did some light running on Wednesday, testing his sore left shin, and seemed to do OK. But on Thursday, the leg was sore again, and the Twins scrubbed his planned session of batting practice. Sano hit off a tee instead, but it’s clearly going to be a few more days before they feel comfortable amping up the workload again.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s first game of a four-games series:
E. Escobar 3B
A. Escobar SS