KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Today’s game wraps up a 10-day, three-city, 11-game road trip, and it coincidentally also finishes off the first half of the season. At 41-39, the Twins are guaranteed to have a winning record as they pass the halfway point, and it’s got Paul Molitor thinking about what’s ahead.

    The Twins are in the race for the AL Central division title, albeit mostly because none of the other Central teams have put together a lengthy winning streak. They can feel good about their chances in the second half; their season might look a lot different if the Astros were in the Central, since they are 13 games worse than Houston right now.

    Molitor has meetings set up later this week with chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine, to discuss where they’re at and how they can climb even higher.

    “The conversations have been ongoing between the front office and myself about how we want to shape our roster to give us the best chance each day we play,” Molitor said. The Twins’ leadership plans “kind of a first-half evaluation, to [put on the] table some ideas about how we shape things.”

    First, they’ve got a game to play here, and Molitor wishes he knew what to expect today. Hector Santiago is on the mound, his second start since returning from the disabled list, and the manager hasn’t seen enough of the lefthander to be certain of his health and effectiveness. Santiago pitched only two innings last Tuesday in Boston before rain forced his removal. Santiago needed 50 pitches to get through those two innings, which isn’t a good sign.

     “It was a tough outing to gauge. The red flags are the pitch count in two innings, but he can do that even when he hasn’t been set back” by injury, Molitor said. “I want to see more than one outing to see where he’s at.”

    The Twins are 5-5 on this trip, and would like to go home with a winning road trip. Here are the lineups for today’s finale:



Dozier 2B

Grossman RF

Mauer 1B

Sano DH

E. Escobar 3B

Polanco SS

Rosario LF

Buxton CF

Castro C


Santiago LHP




Merrifield 2B

Bonifacio RF

Hosmer DH

Perez C

Soler LF

Torres 3B

Moss 1B

A. Escobar SS

Gordon CF


Wood LHP

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