The Minnesota Twins might be in the process of playing out the string, but Monday’s opener of a four-game series against the host Cleveland Indians will have added importance for Bill Evers.
Evers will serve as interim manager from the start of the game on Monday, two days after he announced he is retiring following a 46-year career in professional baseball. The bench coach will serve in his new capacity after Twins manager Rocco Baldelli returned home on Sunday to await the birth of his first child.
Evers has worn many hats during his career, although he has yet to serve as a manager. The 67-year-old, however, admitted he has reached out to several former co-workers for some helpful hints.
“It’s awesome in that I still get to converse with (former pupils) and understand some of the things that they’ve incorporated in their managing style and things like that,” Evers said.
“Kevin (Cash, Tampa Bay Rays manager), Rocco, (Derek Shelton, Pittsburgh Pirates manager), all those guys I’ve had interaction with, and it’s always good to talk to them about strategies and things that they see going on in games and sharing what your thoughts are. The interaction is awesome.”
Evers took over for Baldelli after the top of the eighth inning on Sunday, as the latter was scheduled to return home to Minnesota. Evers had every reason to smile shortly thereafter as Nick Gordon’s go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning helped the Twins (59-77) snap a four-game skid with a 6-5 victory over the Rays.
Minnesota’s Bailey Ober (2-2, 3.98 ERA) will bid for his second straight win when he takes the mound on Monday opposite fellow right-hander Logan Allen (1-5, 6.62).
Ober, 26, allowed two runs on five hits in six innings in a 3-2 victory at Detroit on Monday.
His last loss, however, came in his lone career appearance against the Indians. He permitted three runs (two earned) on five hits in six innings of a 3-1 setback to Cleveland on Aug. 17.
Daniel Johnson went deep off Ober in that contest for the Indians (68-66), who homered in a franchise-record tying 19th straight game in Sunday’s 11-5 victory over Boston. The initial record was set from May 7-28, 2000.
Franmil Reyes provided the honors with his 26th homer of the season and second in as many days. He added a two-run double on Sunday to highlight his 4-for-4 performance at the plate.
“It’s more confidence at the plate,” Reyes said after slugging Cleveland to its fifth win in seven outings. “I think the way my coaches talked to me, it was more about the mechanics and me trusting myself. I think it was that.”
Reyes’ power surge over the last two days comes on the heels of a dismal 1-for-19 stretch in the previous five games.
“Sometimes you just need that breather,” Indians interim manager DeMarlo Hale said of Reyes.
Allen, 24, received a no-decision on Wednesday after yielding three runs (two earned) on five hits in 6 2/3 innings at Kansas City.
He endured a disastrous performance in his lone career encounter with Minnesota. He allowed six runs on five hits — including three homers — in 1 1/3 innings of a loss.
–Field Level Media