The Twins are back home for a ten-game homestand that will define the rest of their playoff run. Who am I kidding? Every game from here on out will define their postseason chances. They have put themselves in the race, and they have a real chance at getting the second wild card spot. Heck, if they can get hot and the Yankees falter, the first wild card spot could be had.
Can the Twins get hot? The lineup looks functional, as Aaron Hicks has been a solid leadoff hitter and Torii Hunter has heated up. And there's some Sano guy batting cleanup. Twins manager Paul Molitor and pitching coach Neil Allen have figured out a reliable bullpen lineup.
So it's up to the starters.
If the Twins rotation can get on a roll, then the club could finish with a flourish. Phil Hughes' start tomorrow is huge, as he makes his return from the disabled list. And Ervin Santana must stay on his recent good run.
The Twins tonight will face lefthander Kyle Lobstein, who missed a chunk of this season with shoulder problems. He's looking to end a five-start losing streak.
In his only at-bat against Lobstein, Hunter belted a home run off him. That's noteworthy because Hunter is sitting on 350 career home runs, one shy of Dick Allen for 91st all-time.
This is the first time these teams have met since right before the All Star break. And we all know what happened then. The Twins took three of four games, including a July 10 game in which they erupted for seven runs in the ninth - including a walk-off homer by Brian Dozier - to win 8-6.
Still waiting for lineups. Will check in later
Glen Perkins threw 31 pitches on Tuesday.
``We joked that he didn't like pitch No. 30 so he threw one more,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said of the odd number.
Perkins feels good. As long as he gets up in the morning with no problems, the plan is for him to throw again on Wednesday - then make himself available for duty. Perkins, who hasn't appeared in a game since Sept. 1., would likely pitch in a setup role a few times before returning to the closer's spot. So righthander Kevin Jepsen, who has seven saves as Perkins' replacement, could get a couple more chances to pad that stat.
Phil Hughes said he have a leash of around 75 pitches he when he returns to the rotation tomorrow. He likes how his command has returned after a couple mound sessions. The feel for the change up was the last thing to come back.
Anthony Gose, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
J.D. Martinez, RF
Victor Martinez, DH
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Steven Moya, LF
James McCann, C
Andrew Romine, SS
Kyle Lobstein, LHP
Aaron Hicks, LF
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Miguel Sano, DH
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Torii Hunter, RF
Eduardo Escobar, SS
Kurt Suzuki, C
Byron Buxton, CF
Tyler Duffey, RHP