Most Twins fans will agree that tonight is probably the toughest game of this series (perhaps even this homestand) – at least on paper – because we’re facing Justin Verlander. Yeah, he’s a good pitcher but does anyone remember that it’s usually the merely adequate pitchers that the Twins make look like Cy Young?? :D I don’t want the boys to start this game already psyched out before they ever pick up a bat. We’ve gotten to Verlander before and I think we can get to him again. We still have some big bats in the lineup who are capable of taking it to even a pitcher of Verlander’s stature.
We still have to play the rest of the game too – I like that we have Butera behind HP to throw out possible base stealers behind Pavano and once again, we have Mauer at 1B. He’s proving to be able to do quite admirably in the corner as Morneau’s backup. It will be interesting to see how much longer that particular setup continues after today because it’s generally believed that Kubel will be brought after the game tonight (likely sending our temporary starter, Scott Diamond, back down in his place) which means that Cuddyer will probably give up his spot in RF more often and do the fill-in work at 1B. Twins fans are pretty familiar with this particular roster setup – the DH/OF/1B rotation has simply added the C into its mix. But all that is after the boys get through tonight’s challenge. Every game we have in the division at this point is CRUCIAL so let’s hope they go out there and give the Tigers what for.
Btw, YAYAYAAAAAAAAAA for the weather finally being stunningly gorgeous!! Game start temps will be about 80 and players will be able to walk to fielding positions instead of swim. In reality, today is one of the most perfect MN days you will ever get! Lucky Tigers… the Indians and Royals are sooooo jealous.
|Jackson, A, CF||Revere, CF|
|Boesch, LF||Casilla, A, 2B|
|Ordonez, RF||Mauer, 1B|
|Cabrera, Mi, 1B||Cuddyer, RF|
|Martinez, V, DH||Thome, DH|
|Peralta, Jh, SS||Valencia, 3B|
|Guillen, 2B||Young, D, LF|
|Avila, C||Nishioka, SS|
|Betemit, 3B||Butera, C|
|Verlander, P||Pavano, P|
I guess the Tigers’ strategy of holding Justin Verlander back from his regularly scheduled start on Wednesday to face the Twins tonight worked for them… kinda. Verlander did pitch well and beat our guys, but on the other hand, the Tigers lost a game they should have won on Wednesday. Anyway, not a big surprise that the best pitcher in the AL this year proved tough to hit.
Jason Kubel may be back in the line up Friday (he was activated after the game and Scott Diamond was optioned back to Rochester) and the rest of the Tiger rotation isn’t anything to get too excited about, so we’ll see how things go the rest of the weekend. I still think people are putting way more emphasis on this series than it warrants. These teams play one another 9 more times, for crying out loud. Let’s keep some perspective. – JC