Nate Robertson (6-6, 5.23) vs. Scott Baker (4-2, 3.57)
First things first, Miguel Cabrera is out of the lineup tonight, which was probably expected. But no news seems to be good news, as far as a long-term injury. Maybe the Tigers are waiting to see how Miggy responds in warm-ups and workouts before making a final decision. Marcus Thames gets the start at first base tonight, with Clete Thomas in left and Matt Joyce in right.
Somehow in his last start, Nate Robertson escaped without allowing an earned run, despite giving up 11 hits to the Cardinals in 6 1/3 innings. It was one of the most Houdini-like performances you'll ever see. In two of Robertson's last three starts, in fact, he hasn't allowed an earned run. (In between, he gave up five, which is the Nate we're more familiar with, but give the man his due.) And he has pitched very well against these Minnesota Twins, winning three of his last five starts with a 2.67 ERA. In his last two appearances in the Metrodome, Robertson has just two earned runs in 14 innings.
With Robertson starting, our old friend Craig Monroe should be in the Twins' lineup. Especially since Nate owns Jason Kubel (0-for-11, five strikeouts), as La Velle E. Neal III points out in his Star Tribune blog. (Hat tip to Mack Avenue Tigers) Monroe has actually been terrible against lefties this season, however, batting .103/.175/.155 in 63 plate appearances.
Scott Baker is on a two-game winning streak, giving up four runs in 12 innings. And in his 11 starts this season, he's given up more than three runs only once. One problem he's been running into, however, is high pitch counts that have taken him out of games early. (And given what we've seen from the Minnesota bullpen in recent match-ups, the Twins would probably prefer to keep their starters in there through seven innings.) Baker is winless in his last five appearances against the Tigers, which includes two starts this season. The last time he faced Detroit, Baker had to leave after three innings with a groin injury.