The four-game series between the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers remains intact after the teams made a strong statement regarding social injustice.
The scheduled series opener at Detroit’s Comerica Park on Thursday was postponed after the teams decided not to play as a protest to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
An agreement was later reached to reschedule the game as part of a doubleheader on Friday. Each game will last seven innings, unless extra innings are required.
The Twins organization issued a statement which read, in part, “The Minnesota Twins remain committed to using our platforms to push for racial justice and equality. Therefore, we fully respect our players for their decision to not play tonight’s game versus the Detroit Tigers.”
Manager Rocco Baldelli said his players wanted to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The NBA playoffs were postponed on Wednesday and Thursday, and the NHL followed suit, postponing games on Thursday and Friday.
“I know we’re starting to see things we’ve never seen before, and I think that’s a good thing,” Baldelli said to MLB.com. “I think we’re learning a lot about the power and influence that we have, and we obviously saw that in the NBA. We saw it in Major League Baseball today, so we’re going to continue to watch and continue to converse and discuss everything related to what’s going on because we do have that influence.”
The Tigers also decided not to play Thursday shortly after they arrived at the ballpark.
“We had a very emotional meeting in the clubhouse, and our players spoke out about what’s going on in this country,” manager Ron Gardenhire said to MLB.com. “Some of our players, (outfielder Cameron) Maybin, stepped up and really spoke out deeply. We knew it was going to be a really tough time to try to get out on the field.”
Gardenhire’s club will go with left-hander Matthew Boyd (0-4, 8.48 ERA), Thursday’s scheduled starter in the first game, and rookie left-hander Tarik Skubal (0-1, 10.38 ERA) in the nightcap.
In his last outing on Saturday, Boyd held Cleveland to two runs on five hits and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings. He didn’t allow a homer for just the second time in six starts. It went for naught as the Indians pulled away to a 6-1 victory.
Boyd has started against Minnesota 19 times, posting a 7-6 record and 4.86 ERA.
Skubal will be making his third major league start and the first in his home ballpark.
After allowing four earned runs in two innings to the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 18, Skubal gave up one run on three hits with five strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings at Cleveland on Sunday. He threw 69 pitches during his last outing.
“I think I did a better job of competing,” he said to the Detroit News afterward. “I feel like I pitched with more intent and more focus.”
Right-hander Randy Dobnak will start one of the games for Minnesota. Baldelli will likely mix and match his bullpen in the other game.
Dobnak (5-1, 1.78 ERA), just three years removed from pitching for the Utica (MI) Unicorns of the United Shore Professional Baseball League, has become one of the majors’ most effective starters.
Dobnak has not allowed more than two runs in any of his starts this season. He didn’t give up an earned run over seven innings and two appearances to Detroit last season.
–Field Level Media