The Twins lineup for Monday’s 5-3 win over the White Sox looked like a potential starting nine for the postseason, with the exception of LaMonte Wade Jr playing center field for a recuperating Max Kepler. But that substitution changes everything as far as batting order.
Here was the lineup:
Facing a right-handed starter, which dominate both the Astros’ and Yankees’ rotations, Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Cave are better fits than CJ Cron (684 OPS vs RHP) and Jonathan Schoop (737 OPS vs RHP). Both started Monday night. Garver has also seen more time at catcher lately, even versus right-handers. The rest of the lineup are the everyday players.
But if Kepler is in the lineup, he is likely to lead off. Kepler has been the leadoff hitter for the Twins 105 times this season, versus just eight times for Arraez. So what does the batting order look like if one adds Kepler?
Turns out, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has written that combination of nine names – last night’s 1-8 hitters plus Kepler - into the starting lineup just one time all year. Like last night, it was against the White Sox at Target Field. And like last night, it was against Reynoldo Lopez. Last month on Tuesday, August 20th, the Twins scored 14 runs and beat up the White Sox. (Here's the box score.) The starting lineup looked like this:
- Max Kepler - CF
- Jorge Polanco - SS
- Nelson Cruz - DH
- Eddie Rosario - LF
- Miguel Sano - 3B
- Luis Arraez - 2B
- Mitch Garver - C
- Marwin Gonzalez - 1B
- Jake Cave - RF
Does Kepler’s health change things? Does Cave need to show he can hit like he did before the injury? If he does, does he switch places with Gonzalez? Do Sano’s back problems mean he switches places with Garver? These are additional questions for us to explore and the Twins to work out over the next two weeks.
This story originally appeared at Twins Daily and was re-shared as part of a collaboration between Bring Me The News and Twins Daily.