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Know Thine Enemy: Lone Star Ball
So let's start this off by doing what I always do anytime the Twins have to go to Arlington between January and December: check the weather forecast. And the survey says: 105˚ and possible thunderstorms. GAAAH!
The Twins may now have a five-game lead over the White Sox, but the Rangers are positively cruising atop the AL West, eight games in front of the Angels and Athletics. Texas has their eye on a first playoff berth in eleven years this year, and with their divisional competition all under the .500 mark with less than 40 games to go, can certainly be said to have the inside track.
|2010 - Nick Blackburn||7-7||19||18||1||0||0||0||104.0||148||81||77||19||27||35||6.66||1.68|
Well, let's see how this goes, then. Blackburn, called up to replace the injured Kevin Slowey, hasn't started in the majors since July 18, the final straw for Twins management, which first demoted him to the bullpen and then sent him down to the minors. Blackburn won one of his four starts in Rochester, where he gave up just two earned runs in his final three stars combined, pitching 16.1 innings in that span and allowing eleven hits and five walks.
|2010 - Rich Harden||4-4||15||15||0||0||0||0||74.1||73||49||45||16||50||64||5.45||1.65|
Harden went on the disabled list just last week with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder, and has been plagued this year with injuries. This will be just his third start since June 11, and you might expect a rather quick hook if he struggles; he walked five hitters in just 2.1 innings of work in his last outing, August 7 against Oakland. He was last seen last Wednesday in Triple-A Oklahoma City, though, striking out ten and walking only three in a rehab start, so perhaps his control problems have eased.