|12:10 PM PT1:10 PM MT2:10 PM CT3:10 PM ET15:10 ET19:10 GMT3:10 12:10 PM MST2:10 PM EST2:40 PM VEN23:10 UAE2:10 PM CT, October 1, 2017
Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota Attendance: 28,148
Twins make final tuneup versus Tigers
MINNEAPOLIS -- The intrigue of Detroit Tigers utility man Andrew Romine playing all nine positions in a game was extinguished Saturday. The Minnesota Twins are left with keeping players fresh with their playoff spot -- and opponent -- now secured.
Detroit and Minnesota finish the regular season Sunday as two American League Central teams facing much different futures.
The Tigers are headed to the offseason and a search for a new manager as Brad Ausmus has already been told he will not return. The Twins are preparing to face the Yankees in the American League wild-card game Tuesday in New York.
The two teams split the first two games of the season-ending series, with Detroit taking Saturday's matchup 3-2 as Romine became the fifth player in major league history to play all nine positions in a game. Minnesota wasn't sharp as it had six hits and two errors.
"Offensively, we didn't have a lot of opportunities," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Some of the at-bats were, I thought, pretty good along the way. ... But got the guys work that we felt like we needed to today. Like I told you yesterday, I try to win but it didn't work out in that regard."
Second baseman Brian Dozier and center fielder Byron Buxton sat out Saturday's game. Others will likely see time in the dugout on Sunday as Minnesota starts right-hander Bartolo Colon (6-14, 6.72 ERA) against Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez (3-6, 6.46 ERA).
Colon only pitched an inning in his last outing as he left the game early because of an illness. Colon's spot on the postseason roster is unknown, but Molitor felt the 44-year-old Colon needed to start the finale in case he's needed later.
"I think he needs to pitch," Molitor said. "Hopefully he has a good outing and we can keep him out there for a while. Coming off a one-inning outing and uncertainty of what's down the road, depending on what goes on Tuesday, and I think he needs to pitch, so hopefully he has a good day."
The Twins have Ervin Santana lined up to start Tuesday, and have already altered their rotation in case Jose Berrios is needed in relief. Should both pitch and Minnesota wins, the rotation for the division series is uncertain.
Colon found success after joining the Twins at midseason but has run into recent trouble. He's 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA over his last four starts. Overall, he's 4-6 with a 5.50 ERA in 14 starts for Minnesota.
His long career has included 27 games (26 starts) against Detroit, in which he is 8-10 with a 5.40 ERA.
Like Colon, Sanchez is another veteran righty whose future was in doubt earlier this season. The longtime starter began the season in the bullpen but was finally given another chance at starting. Sanchez's ERA was 7.43 on Sept. 10, but he's turned in three consecutive quality starts.
He's allowed four earned runs in 18 innings over his past three starts, pitching six innings in each contest.
"I feel really good," Sanchez said. "I think right now I found out a way to finish the hitter. Before the last two outings I wasn't able to finish the hitter and I just leave the ball right in the middle and, you know, a lot of homers. But, I found out the way to strike out guys, get a ground ball and finish the inning, you know, to cut off the rally, to be able to throw the last three outings for six innings."
Sanchez is 6-5 with a 3.92 ERA in 22 appearances (18 starts) against the Twins, including 1-1, 9.82 in five games (two starts) this season.
Updated October 1, 2017