The Minnesota Twins are trying to avoid finishing in last place in their division for the first time in over a decade. If they want to start moving in the right direction, they may have found a good opponent in the Kansas City Royals, who currently sit two games ahead of Minnesota in the "battle" for the American League Central basement.
The Twins have won seven of their last eight meetings against Kansas City, including four in a row at Kauffman Stadium, where this abbreviated two-game set will take place. The Twins have not finished in last place in the division since doing so in both 1999 and 2000. The Royals, on the other hand, have finished in last place in the American League Central in seven out of the last eight years.
The Twins will give the ball to right-hander Carl Pavano (8-11, 4.52 ERA) in hopes of digging their way out of the basement. Pavano has faced Kansas City three times this year, putting together a 2-1 record in those starts. He got blasted by Kansas City back on May 1, allowing seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits in 5.1 innings in a 10-3 Minnesota loss. In the two starts since then, however, he has pitched a total of 16 innings, allowing just 15 hits and 5 runs over that stretch, including a complete game victory over Kansas City back on June 3.
The Royals will counter with left-hander Bruce Chen, who has faced Minnesota twice this season, allowing a total of 7 runs on 17 hits in 10.1 innings of work. He got a no-decision against the Twins back on April 29 in a game that Kansas City ultimately won by a score of 4-3, and took the loss in an 8-4 Minnesota victory on July 14.
First pitch from Kansas City this evening is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. Be sure to hang out with the good folks at Twinkie Town during the game to be a part of all the action, and check out our recap when things are finished.