Preview: Brewers vs. Twins
MILWAUKEE — Jorge Polanco is expected to make his season debut Monday night when the Minnesota Twins open a two-game interleague series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Polanco will be reinstated Monday from his 80-game suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs after going 6-for-13 in four games with Triple-A Rochester.
He batted .256 with 13 home runs, 30 doubles in 133 games last year and was especially strong in the second half, slashing .293/.359/.511 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs.
That performance moved him into the No. 3 spot in the Twins’ lineup, but manager Paul Molitor said he probably won’t bat that high right away upon his return.
“We know what he did last year when he had a chance to move up into a pretty important role,” Molitor told reporters Sunday in Chicago. “I don’t know we’ll jump him up there that fast. For us to see him is going to be different than hearing about him and reading about him and texting him and all those kinds of things.
“We’ll see how it is. To be honest, coming up here and playing, even though he’s doing really well, it’s going to be a little different than what he’s been doing.”
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (2-6) starts for Minnesota. He posted a 2.45 ERA through his first four June starts but saw that number grow to 3.35 after allowing five runs in seven innings to the Chicago White Sox his last time out.
Gibson struck out seven in the game and walked just one but gave up a season-high 11 hits.
“I went back and looked at some of the hits I gave up,” Gibson said. “I don’t know if I just picked the wrong pitch at the wrong time or what. I executed quite a few pitches there, and they found holes.”
The Twins dropped a three-game weekend series to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field and have lost eight of their last 10 overall.
Milwaukee struggled during the weekend, too, dropping the last two of a four-game series at Cincinnati. The Brewers managed just five total runs in those losses while allowing 20, including a grand slam in each one.
“Two runs, three runs … You’re going to need more to win most games,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Despite that showing, the Brewers will return home still leading the National League Central by a half-game over the Cubs, who will be idle Monday.
Brent Suter (8-5) gets the nod in the series opener. He’ll be looking to get back on track after his three-game winning streak was snapped last week by the Kansas City Royals.
Suter overcame a somewhat slow start to the season and has turned into a solid starter in the last two months. He’s 6-2 with a 3.50 ERA in his last eight starts. Before his outing against Kansas City, he hadn’t allowed more than three runs in his previous seven games.
Part of Suter’s success can be attributed to his pace, which is among the game’s fastest. That makes it difficult for hitters to settle in between pitches and, Suter admits, there can be a slight advantage to working quickly.
“I don’t want to quick-pitch people; I don’t do that,” he said. “But I want to keep the tempo up and let my fielders get back in and hit as quickly as possible. That’s how I operate. If that gets them uncomfortable, that’s fine, but I’m just in attack mode and up-tempo.”
Suter is 1-0 with a 3.72 ERA in two career starts against the Twins, both of which came at Target Field. He held them to a run and five hits while striking out six in 5 2/3 innings on May 18.