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Game 107: Twins @ Rays

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First Pitch: 6:10 PM CDT
TV: FSN North
Radio: Twins Radio Network

Know Thine Enemy: DRaysBay

Last night's 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay broke an eight game winning streak for the Twins. Perhaps more importantly, it provided yet another reminder that the Twins need to pick up their game in order to compete with the big boys out east. Can the Twins start another winning streak and even the series against the Rays? With the Chicago White Sox winning last night, the Twins are 1.5 games back of first in the AL Central. After making up a few games during the recent winning streak, it would be a shame to fall back in early August.

And, if you think Brett Favre is REALLY retiring this time, I've got an NFL team in Los Angeles to sell you...Seriously, of course Favre is going to "consider" retirement right up until the end of August. This is what he's done the last few years...


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Brian Duensing 4-1 41 2 0 0 0 0 54.0 45 11 11 3 13 32 1.83 1.07

Since replacing Nick Blackburn in the starting rotation, Brian Duensing has been very good, 2 starts, 11 IP, 12 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO. Duensing won't overpower anyone, but he's tough on left handers (.418 OPS), this season he's seen a sharp increase in his GB/FB ratio (1.56 up from 1.14 last season), and he continues to prevent hitters from making sharp contact (13.5 LD% this season, 14.2% career). Last season, Duensing was clutch down the stretch. Hopefully we'll see the same this year.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Jeff Niemann 9-3 21 21 1 1 0 0 134.1 113 47 46 18 42 98 3.08 1.15

After being drafted in the first round, #4 overall, out of Rice University by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2004, Jeff Niemann has always been a highly regarded prospect. But it wasn't until last season that Niemann broke out at the Major League level, as he went 13-6 with a 3.94 ERA (4.53 xFIP) over 180.2 innings. This season, Niemann has improved his ERA by nearly a run, but his xFIP is nearly the same (4.25). He's been good this season, but a .253 BABIP probably won't hold up. In early July, Niemann posted a no decision against the Twins, pitching 6.2 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in a 5-4 Tampa Bay victory.

Lineups will be posted after the jump


Lineup

Minnesota Twins @ Tampa Bay Rays

08/03/10 7:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins Tampa Bay Rays
Denard Span - CF B.J. Upton - CF
Alexi Casilla - 2B Carl Crawford - LF
Joe Mauer - DH Evan Longoria - 3B
Delmon Young - LF Willy Aybar - DH
Jason Kubel - RF Sean Rodriguez - 2B
Michael Cuddyer - 1B Dan Johnson - 1B
Danny Valencia - 3B Jason Bartlett - SS
Trevor Plouffe - SS Kelly Shoppach - C
Drew Butera - C Gabe Kapler - RF