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Game 104: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim @ Minnesota Twins

First Pitch: 6:10pm CDT
TV: FS-N
Radio: Twins Radio Network
Know Thine Enemy: Halos Heaven

I'll draw your attention to the new tagline of Twinkie Town: The Orlando Cabrera Reign of Hustle Starts Now. A little more seriously, it's time for the Twins to show up. We've been asking for it for a couple of months now, but with the number of games shrinking it's all the more imperative that this team starts to play like a playoff contender. And you do that by beating the best teams in your league. Clearly the Angels are one of those teams.

Starting Pitchers


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Anthony Swarzak 3-3 8 8 0 0 0 0 45.2 43 19 19 4 17 26 3.74 1.31

I'd like to say that the stability of the rotation depends on Swarzak, since there really isn't much depth left now that we're down Kevin Slowey and maybe Francisco Liriano, but the fact is that it's a little more desperate than that. This rotation hinges on each and every start, no matter who makes it, not just because we need quality performances but because the bullpen has a case of implosionitis. As for Swarzy specifically, after his last start it's still the fastball that's been by far his most effective pitch. Against a team as hot as the Angels though, both his breaking ball and his off-speed pitch are going to need to work. And work well.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Joe Saunders 8-6 21 21 1 1 0 0 129.0 140 76 72 22 49 70 5.02 1.47

The 28-year old southpaw has had a rough year. The home runs have been getting the best of him, which is harsh considering he's not a fly-ball pitcher. 22 bombs already? That bodes well for the middle of the Twins lineup, left-handed hitters or not. The problem is that compared to last year, where Saunders' fastball-changeup combination was pretty lethal, this season it's not happening. His slider has still been a good complimentary pitch, but a lot of its success could come from the fact that he only throws it three or four times a game. If he had more confidence in it, he'd throw it more often. Saunders, in terms of the three true outcomes, is coming out on the down side of all three, which is great for the Twins: he's susceptible to the homer, he walks too many and he doesn't strike out enough. His last quality start was June 24, a span of seven appearances.

Lineups

Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B
Maicer Izturis, 2B
Bobby Abreu, RF
Juan Rivera, DH
Kendry Morales, 1B
Mike Napoli, C
Erick Aybar, SS
Gary Matthews Jr, CF
Sean Rodriguez, LF

Twins
Denard Span, RF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Mike Redmond, C
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B

Lineups courtesy of Joe C, who has both Span and Young playing in left. With Cuddyer out due to his strained lower back, I'm assuming the versatile Span will be moved to that corner.