Preview: Twins vs. Tigers
Even though a 4-2 loss started Detroit’s visit on a sour note, Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire was happy to be back in Minnesota.
Gardenhire managed the Twins from 2002 through the 2014 season. Before his 13 years at the helm, he spent the 1987 season as a player in Minnesota’s minor league system and then became a minor league coach in the organization. He was added to the big league staff in 1991 and remained the team’s third-base coach until he was promoted ahead of the 2002 season.
“It was really good to see him today,” said Paul Molitor, who played for the Twins from 1996 to 1998 and joined Gardenhire’s coaching staff in 2014 before replacing him as manager. “I couldn’t be more happy that he has got the opportunity over there with the Tigers. He did so much in this community and for this organization.
“Gave me a chance to get back in the big leagues as a coach in 2014. I can tell by seeing some of the reports and watching some of the highlights that these guys are playing really hard for him, which is not unexpected.”
After Minnesota fired him, Gardenhire spent two seasons out of the game before returning as a coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year.
“It’s always going to be in your history and in your blood,” said Gardenhire, who still has a home in the Twin Cities area. “I love this place. This organization showed me as much respect as you could get as a coach, player and manager.
“So you know what, I’ve always loved this place and it’ll never go away. But now I have a job to do with my Tigers boys and it’s to whip their butts.”
The Tigers couldn’t get it done in the series opener and they return for Game 2 of the series having lost four in a row and five of their last six.
Left-hander Matthew Boyd gets the start for Detroit and is coming off a stellar performance at Seattle, where he had a career-high nine strikeouts.
Boyd (2-3, 3.19 ERA) has six quality starts in eight turns through the rotation already this season along with a team-leading 1.06 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in 48 innings.
“Matthew Boyd ain’t a secret,” Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos said. “Cat’s out of the bag.”
Things haven’t gone nearly as well for Twins starter Lance Lynn.
Signed to a one-year contract late in spring training, Lynn has struggled out of the gate for Minnesota and takes the mound Tuesday looking to bounce back after lasting a season-low three innings against his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Lynn was charged with three runs, four hits and four walks while striking out five in the Twins’ 7-5 loss. He has posted just one victory this season and his team has only won in two of his starts.
“He’s aware it’s been a struggle so far,” Molitor said. “Sometimes, subconsciously or consciously, you’re trying too hard to get back on track. Pitching against the Cardinals (last Wednesday) was something he was probably looking forward to, but it didn’t work out particularly well.”