Ervin Santana vs. Josh Tomlin, 12:10 p.m.
Exactly one week ago, the Twins were 1 game back of the Indians. Now they are 0.5 games back of the Indians, and yet it seems like their season has been dramatically turned around.
Today's game will mark the end of a stretch of 10 games with 7 of them against the Indians. When it began, the Twins had a 2-game lead. If the Twins win today, they will have survived this stretch going 3-4 versus the Indians and will maintain a slim 0.5-game lead. If they lose, the Twins will fall 1.5-games back after going 2-5 versus the Indians.
Of course, after getting pounded at home by the Indians in a 4-game sweep last weekend, it seems almost miraculous that the Twins are in such a good position now, especially since their best player, Miguel Sano, has been sidelined these last 2 games with a sinus infection, and their best 2 starters, Jose Berrios and Ervin Santana, have yet to start in this stretch against the Indians.
Santana will end that today, which means the Twins finally have a favorable pitching matchup, at least on paper. Of course, pretty much the Twins' entire season shows there's a reason why this game isn't played on paper.
After a dominating April and a good May, Santana has struggled in June. Tomlin has an ERA over 6.00, so it looks to be a slugfest today. Then again, the last time these two pitchers faced off, Santana won 1-0 by pitching a 3-hitter.
The Twins will need Santana to go deep into the game because the bullpen was asked to pitch 8 1/3 innings total in the previous 2 games. Manager Paul Molitor will most likely want to avoid using Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers and I really want hit to avoid using Matt Belisle.
And I really, really want him to avoid using Chris Giminez in the outfield again, so here's hoping that at least one of Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler is feeling well enough to play today.