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Game 78: Twins @ Kansas City

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First Pitch: 7:10pm CDT
TV: Fox Sports North (HD where available)
Radio: Twins Radio Network
Know Thine Enemy: Royals Review

Series at a Glance

Tonight, the Twins start a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium - their first trip to the BBQ Capital of the World this year.

The Royals started with some promise in 2009, but apart from the 10-3 wizardry of Zach Grienke (who the Twins avoid this week, as he pitched yesterday), they've since fallen way off. KC has won just three of 11, and fell out of the AL Central race in late May and early June, thanks to an eight-game losing streak. They're nine and a half back, and only Oakland and Cleveland have worse records in the AL.

Starting Pitchers


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Nick Blackburn 6-3 15 15 2 0 0 0 101.1 103 41 35 7 26 41 3.11 1.27

The Twins' bullpen is planning to disconnect the phone, turn off the pager, kick back, and catch some nap time tonight. Blackburn became the first Twins pitcher to throw two complete games in a row since 1998 - though he wouldn't have finished the second one if he hadn't blown an eighth-inning lead in Milwaukee.

He's been a model of consistency over the past month, however. In his four June starts, the Twins bullpen has pitched only 1.1 innings, and Blackburn has a 2.25 ERA. Now, the team just has to get him some runs - the Twins lost three of four of those games.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Luke Hochevar 2-3 7 7 1 0 0 0 38.1 36 27 25 5 13 16 5.87 1.28


You could say Hochevar's been a little bit inconsistent this year. (You could also say that Phoenix is a little bit warm, this time of year.) The righthander has made seven starts this year, all in May and June. His first three (10.80 ERA) were bad enough to earn him a trip to Triple-A Omaha, presumably to think about life. His last four have been much better - he's won twice and took a perfect game into the fifth inning in a third, including a masterful 80-pitch complete game against the Reds.

That said, he also tossed up a four-innings, six-earned, game-score-19 start in the middle of those three, so he might not be all the way back, yet.

Lineups


Lineup

Minnesota Twins @ Kansas City Royals

06/29/09 8:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins Kansas City Royals
Denard Span - CF David DeJesus - LF
Brendan Harris - SS Willie Bloomquist - RF
Joe Mauer - C Billy Butler - 1B
Justin Morneau - 1B Mike Jacobs - DH
Jason Kubel - DH Mark Teahen - 3B
Michael Cuddyer - RF Alberto Callaspo - 2B
Joe Crede Brian Buscher - 3B Miguel Olivo - C
Delmon Young - LF Mitch Maier - CF
Nick Punto - 2B Tony Pena - SS