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Game 68: Pittsburgh Pirates @ Minnesota Twins

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First Pitch: 12:10pm CDT
TV: MLB.TV (and nothing else...this is getting old!)
Radio: Twins Radio Network
Know Thine Enemy: Bucs Dugout

Starting Pitchers


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Nick Blackburn 5-2 13 13 0 0 0 0 84.1 86 36 31 7 24 37 3.31 1.30

Nick Blackburn comes off yet another gem, 8 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 3 ER no decision at Oakland last week. Blackburn sports a very nice 3.31 ERA, good for 10th in the AL. Putting on my pessimistic hat, based on FIP (4.18) or xFIP (5.01), his expected ERA is about a run or two higher. Also concerning for a ground ball pitcher (career 1.26 GB/FB ratio), in his last four starts, he's given up 38 GB to 54 FB. Hitters are elevating the ball a bit more, which will eventually result in home runs. Then again, I had concerns going into the last couple starts, and Nick has brought the goods.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Zach Duke 7-4 14 13 2 1 0 0 93.0 88 34 32 9 21 47 3.10 1.17

Zach Duke has been Pittsburgh's most consistent and effective starting pitcher this season, ranking 10th in the NL in ERA (3.10) and 9th in WHIP (1.17). Fortunately for the Twins, Duke (4.10 FIP / 4.43 xFIP) appears to be more in line for a regression than Blackburn. His extremely low BABIP (.268) and LOB% (78.5%) are due to come back down to earth. Duke is a ground ball pitcher (career 1.64 GB/FB ratio) who throws a high-80's fastball, but his curveball and change up are his most effective pitches. Twins hitters will need to be patient and wait for the hanging curve this afternoon. If his last two starts (5 HR allowed against Detroit and Atlanta) are any indication, there may be a few opportunities for the Twins to send a couple balls flying out of the park.