The Minnesota Twins haven't played a game at Target Field since the day before Memorial Day, but they finally get to return home tonight after a fairly successful road trip as they take the diamond at Target Field tonight against the Texas Rangers, the defending American League champions.
After getting swept by the Detroit Tigers to kick off their road trip, the Twins went on to win six of the final seven games of the trip and close the gap in the American League Central to 11.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians. Again, being 11.5 games back in early June doesn't sound terribly impressive. . .but it certainly beats being 16.5 back, which is where the Twins were going into their series against the Kansas City Royals a week ago.
The Rangers come into this one having won six of their past eight games, but the team has never won at Target Field. They had six opportunities against the Twins in 2010, and Minnesota came out on top all six times.
Tonight's pitching match-up is a fairly interesting one. The Rangers will go with left-hander Derek Holland (5-1, 4.36 ERA), whose ERA on the road is four runs better than it is when he starts at home (his road ERA is 2.70, while his home ERA is 6.68). In his last start, he limited the Cleveland Indians to five hits in seven innings of work as the Rangers came out on top, 4-0.
The Twins will counter with right-hander Nick Blackburn (5-4, 3.57 ERA). Blackburn is 4-0 with a 2.64 ERA since May 1, but it remains to be seen whether or not he is 100%. In his previous start against the Kansas City Royals, Blackburn only went five innings before being lifted with tightness in his back, holding the Royals to two runs in a 7-2 Minnesota victory.
First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time, and the folks at Twinkie Town will be your home for all the talking you want to do while the game is taking place. After the game is over and done with, we'll have your recap right back here.