Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has three home runs in his career versus White Sox lefty Chris Sale.
Insight: Dozier is a .276 hitter versus Sale and has taken him deep three times in 29 at-bats. Dozier is having a great season, and there is no reason to take him out of the linup Wednesday even up against Sale.
Description: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter is a career .327 hitter (17-for-52) with four home runs versus White Sox starter John Danks.
Insight: Hunter is batting .261 with 18 extra-base hits and 36 RBI. He's an excellent influence in the clubhouse, which helps the Twins, but doesn't change his value for fantasy owners. This matchup, however, could help fantasy owners.
Description: Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas hit a walk-off homer in the, 2-1, victory over the Cardinals on Thursday.
Insight: Vargas was 2-for-4 in the game. Minnesota hit two solo home runs in the last two innings to sneak passed St. Louis. Vargas is hitting .235 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 132 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer hit a rare home run in the, 2-1, victory over the Cardinals on Thursday.
Insight: Mauer was 1-for-4 with a solo bomb. He tied the game at one in the eighth and Kennys Vargas won the game with a walk-off homer in the ninth. Mauer is batting .253/.316/.359 with three home runs and 36 RBI in 245 at-bats this year.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier was 1-for-3 with an RBI in the, 3-2, loss to the Cardinals on Monday.
Insight: Dozier had a double, but he picked up the RBI on a sacrifice fly in the eighth. The run pulled Minnesota within one, but that there was no more scoring in the game. Dozier is hitting .266 with 13 home runs and 32 RBI in 241 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter was suspended two games and fined due to his tantrum on June 10 and will begin serving the two games on Saturday.
Insight: Hunter dropped his appeal. Hunter argued balls and strikes with the home plate umpire on June 10, which led to an ejection and Hunter ripping his jersey off and throwing it onto the field. He is batting .268 with 18 extra-base hits and 36 RBI in 209 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier hit a solo home run in the loss to the Rangers on Friday.
Insight: Dozier went 1-for-3 with the solo shot. He also scored the other Minnesota run on a Trevor Plouffe fly out in the first. The Twins lost, 6-2. Dozier is hitting .262 with 12 home runs and 29 RBI in 229 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter was suspended two games and fined due to his tantrum on June 10 according to The Star Tribune.
Insight: Hunter will likely appeal the suspension and play in the meantime. Hunter argued balls and strikes with the home plate umpire on June 10, which led to an ejection and Hunter ripping his jersey off and throwing it onto the field. He is batting .268 with 18 extra-base hits and 36 RBI in 209 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe went 2-for-4 with a home run in the, 7-2, loss to the Royals on Wednesday.
Insight: Plouffe drove in both of Minnesota's runs. The first was on a single in the third and the second was came on a solo homer in the eighth. Plouffe is hitting .250 with nine home runs and 32 RBI in 208 at-bats this year.
Description: Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey continued his impressive season.
Insight: Pelfrey has been one of the biggest pleasant surprises this season. He defeated Milwaukee, going eight innings and allowing no runs on eight hits and one walk. He struck out seven and is now 5-2 with a 2.28 ERA.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer had two hits in the loss to the Brewers.
Insight: Mauer came into Saturday hitting just .214 in his last 12 games, but he does have a pair of hits in each of his last two games. He also hit his second home run on Friday. He is hitting .273 with two home runs and 34 RBI in 205 at-bats this year.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier was 2-for-4 with a home run in the loss to the Brewers on Saturday.
Insight: Dozier hit a solo home run in the eighth to bring Minnesota within a run, but Milwaukee got the run back in the ninth and the Twins didn't score again. Dozier is hitting .266 with 11 home runs and 28 RBI in 214 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter smacked a three-run homer Thursday versus Boston.
Insight: Hunter got Minnesota's offense going with the team down 4-0 in the fifth. The Twins ended up winning 8-4, scoring four runs in the ninth. Hunter finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored and the three-run shot. He is batting .282 with eight homers and 35 RBI.
Description: Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki is a career .500 hitter (9-for-18) versus Boston right-hander Clay Buchholz.
Insight: Suzuki hasn't hit the ball particularly well this season, batting just .237 with two homers and 14 RBI and Buchholz has started to pitch better in his last three outings, so this is only worth a small play.
Description: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter had the game-winning two-run double in the, 6-5, victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday.
Insight: Hunter was only 1-for-4 in the game, but with the Twins behind by a run, Hunter's double in the seventh brought in a pair of runs as Minnesota took the lead for good. Hunter is hitting .279/.330/.459 with seven home runs and 32 RBI in 172 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter is not in Saturday afternoon's starting lineup.
Insight: When you are 39-years-old you need rest and today is the day for Hunter. Hunter is batting .280 this season with seven homers, 30 RBI and has been everything the Twins and fantasy owners have wanted in his return to Minnesota.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is just 5-for-28 with seven strikeouts in his career versus the White Sox starter Jose Quintana.
Insight: That's good for a .179 batting average. Two of those five hits are a double and home run, and Dozier does have four RBI, but based on the batting average, it is best to find another second base option on Sunday.
Description: Twins closer Glen Perkins picked up his league-leading 16th save in the, 4-3, victory over the White Sox on Saturday.
Insight: Perkins has yet to blow a save, but he came close on Saturday as two White Sox reached base on a walk and hit. Perkins recorded two strikeouts for the final two outs as Minnesota held on. Perkins has a 1.33 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings.
Description: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter hit a solo home run in the, 4-3, victory over the White Sox on Saturday.
Insight: Hunter hit his bomb in the second inning. Eduardo Nunez also had a solo homer in the frame as Minnesota took a, 2-0, lead. Hunter is hitting .280 with seven home runs and 25 RBI in 150 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer had a three-run single in the second inning as Minnesota beat Pittsburgh, 8-5.
Insight: On a 3-2 pitch, Mauer hit a ground ball to where the shortstop normally would be, but with the Pirates in a shift, the hit went down as a single. Brian Dozier was hustling all the way from first and second because Pirates right fielder Starling Marte was a bit lazy with his throw. It all led to a very unusual three-run single. Mauer is hitting .282 with no home runs and 23 RBI in 149 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe was 2-for-4 with a two-run home run in the, 8-5, victory over the Pirates on Tuesday.
Insight: Minnesota jumped all over ex-Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano, who allowed seven runs in two innings. Plouffe capped off the six-run second with his two-run bomb. He is hitting .261/.340/.455 with six home runs and 20 RBI in 134 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier had a home run and the game-winning sacrifice fly in the, 3-2, victory over the Rays on Friday.
Insight: Dozier tied the game with a solo bomb in the third and then his sacrifice fly in the seventh proved to be the game-winner. He was 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run in the game. Dozier is batting .259 with five home runs and 18 RBI this season.
Description: Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki had an RBI-double in the, 6-2, victory over the Tigers on Wednesday.
Insight: Suzuki doubled in the third after Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe had back-to-back triples. Suzuki was 2-for-3 with a walk in the game. He is hitting .247 with two home runs and 11 RBI this season.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing four runs on 10 hits to win his second game of the season.
Insight: Hughes pitched better than his final line indicates. He only allowed one run through six innings, but in the seventh, he yielded four hits in the first five batters, including a home run to David Murphy. Nevertheless, Hughes owners have to be frustrated because he is just 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA in 44 innings this season.
Description: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter was 3-for-5 with a home run and three runs in the, 7-4, victory over the Indians on Saturday.
Insight: Hunter hit a solo home run in the first inning and then scored in the third and fifth innings as well. Hunter is hitting .295/.333/.491 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 112 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter had two hits in the, 2-1, loss to the Athletics on Tuesday.
Insight: Minnesota only had five hits, all of which were singles, so not much fantasy value there. Hunter didn't have the RBI or score the one run. He is hitting .263 with three home runs and 13 RBI in 95 at-bats this season.
Description: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter hit a three-run homer in the, 8-7, victory over the Athletics on Monday.
Insight: Hunter hit his home run in the sixth to give Minnesota a, 8-5, victory. Oakland scored a run in the eighth and ninth, but the Twins held on to win. Hunter was 1-for-5 in the game and he is hitting .253 with three home runs and 13 RBI this season.
Description: Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Insight: Arcia was in the middle of a six-game hitting streak which raised his average to .276, so this comes at a bad time. He quietly hit 20 homers last season and seems to be continuing to improve his offense.
Description: Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas was 2-for-3 and scored the game-winning run in the, 1-0, victory over the White Sox on Friday.
Insight: Vargas scored on a wild pitch in the fifth and that proved to be the difference on Friday. Vargas has had a rough start to the season, however, as he is hitting .194 with one home run and four RBI this season.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer was 3-for-5 with two RBI and one run in the, 12-2, victory over the White Sox on Thursday.
Insight: Mauer drove in the first run of the game with an RBI-single in the first and then had another RBI-single in the eighth. Mauer has really turned it on lately, going 6-for-10 with four RBI in the last two games, but he is still looking for his first home run.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is hitting just .059 against Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez in his career.
Insight: Dozier is 1-for-17 versus Sanchez. Dozier is off to a slow start, hitting .205 with one home run and six RBI in 73 at-bats this season, so it would be better if fantasy owners had a different second baseman start on Tuesday.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier was 2-for-5 with a RBI-double and two runs in the, 8-5, victory over the Mariners on Saturday.
Insight: Dozier hit his double in the seventh to give the Twins some insurance runs late. Dozier hasn't been great to start 2015, so perhaps this game gets him going. He is hitting .215 with one home run and five RBI this season.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has nine hits, including three home runs, against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie.
Insight: Mauer is 9-for-25 overall with four RBI and six walks versus Guthrie. It would be nice for Mauer to show some of that power on Wednesday because he still doesn't have a home run in 52 at-bats in 2015.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer had two hits and an RBI in the, 6-5, loss to the Royals on Tuesday.
Insight: Mauer had an RBI-single in the fourth to score Danny Santana. It was his fifth RBI, but he still doesn't have a home run. Because of the lack of power, Mauer is only fantasy relevant in very deep leagues.
Description: Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas was 2-for-4, hitting his first home run of the season on Thursday against the Royals.
Insight: Vargas tied the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the second. Minnesota went on to score six of the next seven runs and beat Kansas City, 8-5. Vargas is hitting .250 with one home run and three RBI this season.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer had three RBI in the, 8-5, victory over the Royals on Thursday.
Insight: Mauer was just 1-for-4, but he was a solid run producer on Thursday. Danny Santana scored on Mauer's groundout in the third, Torri Hunter scored on Mauer's single in the fourth and then Shane Robinson scored on Mauer's sacrifice fly in the eighth. Mauer, however, needs to hit more home runs to be fantasy relevant in standard leagues.
Description: Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia is not in Thursday's starting lineup.
Insight: Arcia is off to a slow start, batting just .200 through the first seven games with one extra-base hit. Shane Robinson and Eduardo Escobar will join Torii Hunter in the Twins outfield. Neither youngster has shown much with the bat.
Description: Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki will get Thursday afternoon off.
Insight: The catcher is just 1-for-6 this season and not much of a fantasy asset. Chris Herrmann will get the start behind the plate. He's a career .196 hitter, so you can easily guess that he's not the guy to have in your lineup.
Description: Twins starter Ricky Nolasco had a horrible start versus the Tigers on Wednesday to begin the season.
Insight: Nolasco allowed six runs, all earned, on six hits in three innings of work. He really struggled with his command, walking four batters as well while striking out two. Nolasco had the highest ERA among pitchers who threw for than 150 innings last season. Because he is also on a weak offensive team, Nolasco should not be on many fantasy teams.
Description: The Twins Danny Santana has been named the starter at shortstop for 2015, by manager Paul Molitor.
Insight: No surprise here. He batted .319 with 70 runs, 20 steals and an impressive .824 OPS last season in his rookie year. We'd like to see more walks and less strikeouts, but he quietly put together a nice fantasy season. Don't overlook him on Draft Day.
Description: Twins outfielder Jordan Schafer could be the starting center fielder on Opening Day.
Insight: Schafer is the likely candidate to start as the team sent Aaron Hicks to Triple-A Rochester. His bat has never been fantasy worthy and after five seasons in the majors that isn't likely to change. He does have the ability to steal 25-35 bases.
Description: Minnesota outfielder Aaron Hicks has been sent to Triple-A Rochester.
Insight: Hicks (.215, 1 HR, 18 RBI) was supposed to be the reason the Twins could trade Denard Span and Ben Revere a couple of years ago, but it simply hasn't worked out. Jordan Schafer is the likely starter in center field.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier signed a four-year, $20 million extension.
Insight: Dozier was a great value for fantasy owners in 2014, but most of his production came before the All-Star break and fantasy owners should be wary of selecting him too high. Although he was a 20-20 hitter, he hit 18 of 23 homers and accumulated 16 of 21 steals before the break.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer is not a good fantasy start on the last day of the season.
Insight: Not many are against Tigers pitcher David Price, but Mauer is just 3-for-20 against Price in his career. One of those hits is a double while Mauer also has two RBI, four walks and six strikeouts against the Tiger lefty.
Description: Twins starter Tommy Milone threw a scoreless inning in his return to the mound on Saturday.
Insight: Milone had not pitched since Sept. 2 due to shoulder fatigue and a neck injury. He did not receive another start, but the scoreless inning is encouraging. Milone finishes the year with a 6-4 record and 4.19 ERA in 118 innings.
Description: Twins starter Ricky Nolasco wins sixth game of season.
Insight: In his final start of 2014, Nolasco went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks, and struck out six. It has not been a good year, however (6-12, 5.38 ERA). Nolasco will look to rebound in 2015.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes turned down an opportunity to pitch this weekend to reach his 210 innings quota and earn a $500,000 bonus according to MLB.com.
Insight: That's a head scratcher. Hughes pitched eight innings on Tuesday before the game was stopped due to rain, which ultimately left Hughes 1/3 inning short of 210 on the season. Minnesota offered to let him pitch this weekend to receive the bonus, but he turned it down. If you really don't need the money Hughes, I'll take a half a million bucks. In all seriousness, Hughes has been excellent this year, posting a 16-10 record with a 3.52 ERA and 186 strikeouts versus just 16 walks.
Description: Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe tweeted on Thursday that he will not need surgery to repair his fractured left forearm.
Insight: Plouffe broke his forearm on Wednesday when A.J. Pollock's leg hit his arm on a slide at third base. He will not need surgery but will be in a cast for six-to-eight weeks. We expect him to be fine for spring training next year.
Description: Twins starter Ricky Nolasco pitched eight shutout innings, allowed five hits, struck out five and walked one in a no-decision against the Tigers on Tuesday.
Insight: Nolasco was in line for the victory until Twins closer Glen Perkins yielded three runs in the top of the ninth. Minnesota rallied in the bottom of the inning to win, 4-3. Nolasco is 5-11 with a 5.34 ERA, but he has an ERA of 1.35 in his last three starts.
Description: Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia had to be taken out of Monday's game with upper back tightness.
Insight: Arcia was 1-for-3, including his 18th homerun of the season, before bing removed. He has struggled from an average standpoint in 2014 (.231/.304/.456), but has shown nice power. Consider Arcia day-to-day going forward.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is 2-for-12 in his career against White Sox pitcher Hector Noesi.
Insight: Dozier does have a home run against Noesi, but other than that, has struggled against the right hander. Dozier also struggled in a doubleheader on Saturday, going 0-for-7 in the two games combined.
Description: Twins starter Tommy Milone is unlikely to start on Monday due to a sore neck.
Insight: Milone was already pushed back to start Monday when Friday's game was rained out. With only two weeks remaining in the season, it is possible Milone is done for the year. Anthony Swarsak is the best candidate to start in Milone's place on Monday.
Description: Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas went 2-for-4 with a RBI against Corey Kluber in Minnesota's loss to Cleveland on Thursday.
Insight: Vargas singled to score Danny Santana in the top of the first, and the Twins didn't score again until the ninth. Vargas is batting .306 with seven home runs and 35 RBI in 160 at-bats this year. The Twins and Indians will play again on Thursday.
Description: Twins leadoff hitter Danny Santana is back in the starting lineup Thursday afternoon against the Indians.
Insight: Santana missed two games due to a lower back strain. Minnesota has a double header against Cleveland on Thursday, and Santana is slated to bat lead off and play center field in the first game. In 84 games this season, the rookie has been impressive, batting .320/.358/.475 with seven home runs and 15 stolen bases.
Description: Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia went 2-for-4 and hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning as the Twins beat the Indians, 4-3, on Tuesday.
Insight: Arcia's home run capped off a four-run fourth inning for the Twins, who then held on to win. Arcia does not hit for much of an average .220/.293/.439, but he does occasionally hit a long ball. He has 16 homers and 48 RBI on the year.
Description: Twins leadoff hitter Danny Santana has been downgraded to out for Tuesday's game against Cleveland due to a strained lower back.
Insight: Santana hasn't played since leaving Saturday's game. He's hitting .320 with seven homers, 37 RBI, 57 runs and 15 steals in 337 at-bats and has been one of the biggest fantasy surprises this season.
Description: Twins closer Glen Perkins is questionable for Tuesday's game against Cleveland due to a sore neck.
Insight: Perkins had an MRI which showed no structural damage, but hasn't pitched since Sept. 4. He's 3-2 with 33 saves and a 2.88 ERA. Jared Burton is likely the closing option if Perkins isn't ready to go.
Description: Twins leadoff hitter Danny Santana is questionable for Tuesday's game against Cleveland due to a strained lower back.
Insight: Santana hasn't played since leaving Saturday's game. He's hitting .320 with seven homers, 37 RBI, 57 runs and 15 steals in 337 at-bats and has been one of the biggest fantasy surprises this season.
Description: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer was 2-for-3 with a walk on Saturday in a loss against the Angels.
Insight: Mauer has been getting on base a lot lately, with at least a hit and a walk in each of his last four games. In his last eight games, Mauer is batting .344 with a double, a triple and six RBI. For the season, he is hitting just.277 with four home runs and 46 RBI, which is disappointing based on his standards.
Description: Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer is a career .393 hitter versus White Sox left-hander John Danks
Insight: Interestingly, none of the 22 hits are home runs and only three are extra-base hits. Mauer's numbers are below expectations this season and he's also missed time due to injury. The career .319 hitter is batting just .273 this season.
Description: Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer went 3-for-4 with a triple and four RBI Monday at Baltimore.
Insight: Mauer went 3-for-23 (.130) in his last seven games of August after getting his average up to .281 on Aug. 23. After his three-hit game Monday, Mauer is hitting .276 with four homers, 45 RBI, 51 runs and a .731 OPS in 377 at-bats.
Description: Twins starter Ricky Nolasco allowed eight runs on 12 hits in five innings against the Orioles on Sunday.
Insight: Nolasco also allowed two home runs, struck out two and walked two. He followed up his masterful start from last week against Kansas City, seven shutout innings, with arguably the worst start of his season. Nolasco cannot be counted on down the stretch.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier went 3-for-5 with two runs in the loss to Baltimore on Sunday.
Insight: Dozier seems back on track, with hits in his last 10 games. Over that stretch, Dozier is batting .405 with eight RBI but no home runs. He is hitting .244 with 20 bombs, and 61 RBI this season.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is just 1-for-11 with seven strikeouts against Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer. The only good news is the one hit was a home run.
Insight: Dozier has struggled since the All-Star break, hitting .202 with two homers in 142 plate appearances. He did most of his damage from April to June (15 of his 20 HR) and should not be started Sunday.
Description: Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer went 2-for-3 with a double, three RBI, two walks and two runs in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader against Detroit.
Insight: Mauer has gone 15-for-42 (.357) with four doubles, two homers, 10 RBI and 10 walks since he returned from an oblique strain on Aug. 11. His average is up to .281, the highest it's been since May 27.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has reached base eight times in the past two games.
Insight: Dozier went 1-for-2 with a double, one RBI, three walks and three runs in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Tigers. He's struggled since the All-Star break, hitting .207 with two homers in 121 at-bats.
Description: Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer has batted .333 with three doubles, two homers, seven RBI, eight walks and five runs in 11 games since he returned from the disabled list.
Insight: Mauer has his average up to .278 and his OPS to .732. He hit .300 or better seven times in the previous 10 seasons and has never batted below .287, but he'll need to bat nearly .360 in the final 35 games to hit .300 this season. He's 23-for-62 (.371) with four doubles, three homers and 12 walks in his career against Tigers starter Justin Verlander, so he could be a solid first base option Saturday.
Description: The Twins put 20 runs on the board against the Tigers Friday night, and leadoff hitter Danny Santana went 3-for-6 with a walk, a homer, four RBI and two runs.
Insight: Santana has settled in as Minnesota's starting center fielder, but he also has eligibility at shortstop, which makes him extra valuable. He's hitting .319 with six homers, 32 RBI, 44 runs and 12 steals in 273 at-bats.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes pitched seven great innings against the Indians on Thursday, only allowing a solo home run to Zach Walters in the fourth inning.
Insight: Hughes has won four straight starts to raise his record to 14-8 and his ERA from 4.01 to 3.65. During that stretch, he has 1.32 ERA and 30 strikeouts versus two walks. Hughes had eight K's and no BB on Thursday.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is just 1-for-11 against Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber.
Insight: Two players heading in oppositite directions. Dozier is batting .204 since the All-Star break with two home runs and a .647 OPS in 30 games, while Kluber has been one of the best pitchers in the league going 4-0 with a 0.76 ERA and 0.692 WHIP. Avoid this matchup.
Description: Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton (concussion) isn't expected to play again this season.
Insight: Buxton, ranked as the first overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com and Baseball America, suffered a concussion when he collided with a teammate on Aug. 13. He also dealt with a wrist injury earlier this season and has played just 31 games. He's batted .240 with four homers, 16 RBI and six steals. The earliest we're likely to see the 20-year-old in the majors is late 2015.
Description: Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki is not in Monday night's starting lineup.
Insight: Suzuki went 5-for-10 in the most recent series with the Royals. He has had a very good season, but home runs haven't been a big part of it. He's hitting .307 with three long balls, 49 RBI, 32 runs and a .768 OPS.
Description: Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer is a career .417 hitter (10-for-24) versus Royals starter Jason Vargas.
Insight: Mauer has hit safely in five of six games, including a pair of home runs since he returned from the DL to raise his average to .275. He still has more to go if he's to reach his career average of .320, but this favorable matchup could help.
Description: Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe is an ugly 1-for-12 with five strikeouts against Royals starter Danny Duffy.
Insight: Plouffe has not hit for the power he has in past seasons. He hit 24 in 2012 and fantasy owners were hoping for more than the 14 he blasted last season and the eight he's hit in 100 games this year. Avoid him Friday.
Description: Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton was carted off the field after colliding with a teammate playing for Double-A New Britain Wednesday. UPDATE: Buxton has a concussion but no broken bones, according to Jeff Passon of Yahoo Sports
Insight: Buxton, ranked as the first overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com and Baseball America, has been limited to 31 games by a wrist injury this season. He's batted .240 with four homers, 16 RBI and six steals. Wednesday was his first game since he was promoted to Double-A.
Description: Minnesota CF/SS Danny Santana has gone 21-for-54 (.389) with three doubles, five RBI, five steals and 12 runs in August.
Insight: Santana hasn't stopped hitting since he was called up in May. The 23-year-old is batting .331 with five homers, 27 RBI, 39 runs and 11 steals in 236 at-bats and he has shortstop eligibility. He's a must-own in all leagues.
Description: Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas has hit .300 with two homers, 11 RBI and a .792 OPS since he was called up on July 31.
Insight: Vargas isn't a high-level prospect in Minnesota's organization, but the Twins had him skip Triple-A altogether after he hit .281 with 17 home runs over 97 games with Double-A New Britain. He's unlikely to keep this up.
Description: Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson gave up one run on six hits in 7 2/3 innings to beat the Astros Wednesday afternoon.
Insight: Gibson (11-9, 3.96 ERA) has thrown at least seven innings while allowing two runs or less nine times this season, but he's also allowed five earned runs or more eight times. Such is the life for a pitcher with good control but just 4.97 strikeouts per nine innings.
Description: Minnesota CF/SS Danny Santana went 3-for-5 with a steal and two runs Sunday against the Athletics.
Insight: Santana's .315 average, five homers, 27 RBI, 37 runs and 10 steals in 239 plate appearances would make him an ordinary fantasy option in the outfield, but he has eligibility at both second base and shortstop.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes struck out nine batters and allowed one run on seven hits in six innings Tuesday against the Padres.
Insight: Hughes has the second largest difference between his ERA and FIP among qualified starters this season (4.01 ERA, 2.68 FIP). He should continue to trim that ERA in the last two months of the season.
Description: Twins starter Ricky Nolasco (elbow) will return on Aug. 15 barring a setback, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Insight: That means Nolasco, who has been out with a flexor pronator injury in his elbow since July 7, will make two rehab starts. He has had a miserable season, going 5-7 with a 5.90 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 103 2/3 innings. Among pitchers with 100 innings this season, only one player has an ERA higher than Nolasco's.
Description: Twins starter Ricky Nolasco (elbow) will begin a rehab assignment next week, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Insight: Nolasco has been out with a flexor pronator injury in his elbow since July 7. He's had a miserable season, going 5-7 with a 5.90 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 103 2/3 innings. Among pitchers with 100 innings this season, only one player has an ERA higher than Nolasco's.
Description: Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki has signed a two-year, $12 million contract extension with a vesting option for 2017, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Insight: Suzuki, who made the All-Star team this year, was reportedly on the trade block, but the Twins have decided to make a commitment to the 30-year-old rather than hand the catcher job to Josmil Pinto.
Description: The Athletics have traded left-hander Tommy Milone to the Twins for Sam Fuld.
Insight: Milone went 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over his last 11 starts but was sent down when Oakland traded for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. He was moved further down the starting pitcher hierarchy when Oakland acquired Jon Lester from Boston on Thursday. It's surprising the A's couldn't get more than Sam Fuld, who's a strong defensive outfielder but isn't a good hitter. Oakland waived Fuld in April but needed him back with Coco Crisp (neck) hurting and Yoenis Cespedes moved in the deal for Lester.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes (shin) will not miss a start, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Hughes was hit in the shin by a comebacker in his last start. After posting a 6.31 ERA in his last seven starts, Hughes has the second largest disparity in baseball between his FIP (2.71) and his ERA (4.10).
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes left Thursday night's game after being hit with a ball off the bat of Adam Dunn.
Insight: Hughes will get an X-ray and then we will know the extent of the injury. The right-hander had given up five earned runs in each of his last two outings heading into tonight and five or more earned runs in five of his last six so likely wasn't in any lineups.
Description: Minnesota CF/SS Danny Santana (knee) has been activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Insight: Santana has been out since June 26 due to a knee injury. He'll return to a .328 average, two homers, 16 RBI, six steals and an .814 OPS, though his production has been assisted by a .400 BABIP.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier went 3-for-6 with a double, two homers and four RBI Sunday at Colorado.
Insight: Dozier didn't make the All-Star team because the American League second-base field is so deep, but he has a strong case. He's hit just .242 but has 18 homers, 45 RBI, 69 runs and 16 steals. AL captain Jose Bautista picked Dozier to participate in the Home Run Derby on Monday.
Description: Twins third base prospect Miguel Sano (elbow) will not play in the Arizona Fall League but could get some action in winter ball, according to Rhett Bollinger of mlb.com.
Insight: Sano underwent Tommy John surgery in March. The 21-year-old third baseman already has 90 home runs in 1,375 minor league at-bats. Baseball America ranked Sano as the No. 6 prospect in baseball prior to this season.
Description: Twins starter Ricky Nolasco's MRI ruled out UCL damage and revealed flexor pronator stiffness on the opposite side of his elbow, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Pres.
Insight: He's out indefinitely but this is good news for him because he won't need Tommy John surgery. Nolasco has had a miserable season, going 5-7 with a 5.90 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 103 2/3 innings. He has the worst ERA in baseball among qualified starters.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham has been dreadful against Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda in 12 career at-bats (.083 average, one hit, five strikeouts)
Insight: Willingham's average has dropped 82 points since June 11 (.311 to .229) and he's not a good bet to turn things around this afternoon against Kuroda as his lifetime numbers against him are poor and he's hitting righties worse than lefties this year, too.
Description: Twins starter Phil Hughes has allowed 17 earned runs on 27 hits in his last 19 innings.
Insight: Hughes gave up two home runs and seven earned runs in 6 1/3 innings Thursday against the Yankees and is now 8-4 with a 3.95 ERA. He has a 1.18 WHIP and a 2.78 FIP this season, but it could be problematic if his home run issue from his years with New York resurface. He'll take on the Mariners in Seattle on Tuesday.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham usually hits lefties well, but he's batted .105 with seven strikeouts in 19 at-bats against Royals starter Jason Vargas.
Insight: Willingham has a career .856 OPS against left-handers, but he's never been able to solve Vargas. The outfielder also has hit .136 with 17 Ks in his last 44 at-bats, so he's someone to avoid Wednesday.
Description: Twins left fielder Josh Willingham is not in the lineup Tuesday.
Insight: Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said he wanted to get as many lefties in the lineup as possible against James Shields, according to Rhett Bollinger of mlb.com, so Willingham will take a seat. The outfielder has hit .136 with 17 Ks in his last 44 at-bats.
Description: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is not in the lineup Tuesday against the Royals. He's getting his first rest day of the season.
Insight: Dozier has started all but two games for the Twins this season and he missed both of those due to a back injury. He went 10-for-54 (.185) with zero homers in his last 15 games of June so manager Ron Gardenhire will get him some rest.
Description: Twins DH/1B Kendrys Morales is 1-for-12 (.083) against Royals starter James Shields.
Insight: Morales didn't play the first two months of the season and entered the Twins lineup immediately after signing, so some rust was to be expected and that's what we've seen so far (.215, 1 HR, 9 RBI in 20 games). This unfavorable matchup isn't likely to turn it around.