Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire may insert Trevor Plouffe and Jason Kubel back into his lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Detroit Tigers.
Their bats may not matter if Samuel Deduno turns in another clunker at Comerica Field.
Pitching in Detroit has been a nightmare so far for Deduno as he gets the ball for the Twins against the AL Central leaders.
Gardenhire gave Plouffe and Kubel the day off Saturday in a 9-3 defeat. Plouffe started 33 of the club’s first 34 games while Kubel was mired in a 5-for-29 slump.
"We kind of mixed our lineup around, because we had some guys who were playing every day, so we wanted to give them a little bit of a break here," Gardenhire told the Twins’ official website. "So we’ve got some fresh horses in there, as they say."
Deduno (0-2, 3.42 ERA) will make his second 2014 start after giving up four runs over five innings Tuesday in a 4-2 loss at Cleveland. He replaced Mike Pelfrey, who was ineffective in five starts before going on the disabled list with a groin injury.
The right-hander settled down after giving up four runs in the first two innings.
”Sammy was misfiring a little bit early because he was overthrowing,” Gardenhire said. ”But once he calmed down, he was pretty good and kept his pitch count right where we wanted it (77). He was excited to start again, and I thought he settled in nicely.”
Now the question is how Deduno will fare in Detroit, where he owns a 15.26 ERA in losing two starts with the Tigers batting .410 against him. He’s 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in two home starts against Detroit.
Miguel Cabrera is 2 for 10 against Deduno. The reigning two-time AL MVP hit a three-run homer Saturday and Victor Martinez also had a three-run blast.
Martinez is 8 for 24 with four homers and seven RBIs on this seven-game homestand that ends Sunday.
”I knew Victor was a great hitter before I got here, but he has continued to surprise me all season,” manager Brad Ausmus said. ”I keep saying it – I’ve never seen a hitter like him.”
Detroit (21-11) has won nine of 11 overall, with Friday’s 2-1 defeat one of its blemishes.
Joe Mauer returned to the lineup Saturday for Minnesota (16-19) after missing five games with back spasms. He went 1 for 3 with a walk as the designated hitter while Chris Colabello remained at first base.
Colabello is 0 for 7 with four strikeouts in this series and 1 for 15 against Detroit this year. He has 30 RBIs to rank among baseball’s leaders, with Cabrera not far behind him with 28.
The Tigers will give Robbie Ray (1-0, 1.69) his second career start. Ray enjoyed a successful big-league debut Tuesday when he yielded one run in 5 1-3 innings in an 11-4 victory over Houston.
The 22-year-old left-hander is in the rotation since Anibal Sanchez is on the DL.
The Twins are hitting .233 against lefties for one of baseball’s worst marks. Kubel is hitting .219 versus southpaws and Brian Dozier, who had a three-run homer Saturday, is at .209.