The Minnesota Twins kick off their last series before the All-Star break on Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field, as they start a four-game set with the rival Chicago White Sox, the next team above them in the American League Central standings.
The Twins find themselves eight games out of first place in the American League Central going into Thursday night's action. The White Sox are the division's third place team, 4.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians.
The Twins will send Carl Pavano (5-6, 4.19 ERA) to the mound in the first game of the series. After a stretch of very good starts in the month of June, the Twins have lost Pavano's last two starts. In his last outing, Pavano allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits in 7.2 innings as the Twins lost 8-7 to the Milwaukee Brewers as the Minnesota bullpen melted down.
To counter, the White Sox will send a semi-familiar face to the mound in right-hander Philip Humber (8-4, 2.69 ERA). Humber was part of the trade that sent Johan Santana to the New York Mets a couple of years ago, but never actually saw any Major League action with the Twins. The White Sox have won six of Humber's last seven starts, including his last outing which saw him hold the Chicago Cubs scoreless over seven innings, allowing just five hits in a 1-0 White Sox victory over their cross-town rivals.
Oh, and in a minor story, some guy named Joe Mauer will get his first ever start at first base tonight in Chicago. You know, if you're interested in that kind of thing.
First pitch for this one is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time at U.S. Cellular Field. The folks over at Twinkie Town have fired up the Game Thread for your game discussion pleasure, and we will have the recap back here once the action in Chi-town has concluded.