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The Minnesota Twins are going to have a losing record in 2011. . .we already know that. But they could play a role in spoiling things for their biggest rival if they can pull things together over the next three days.
The Twins will return to Target Field on Monday for a Labor Day doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox. With their 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, the Twins dropped their 81st game of the 2011 season, assuring that they will have a losing record for just the second time in the Ron Gardenhire era. They are also 19.5 games out of first place in the American League Central (after pulling to within five shortly after the All-Star break), which puts them just one game ahead over perennial basement-dwellers Kansas City.
Minnesota actually has an 8-6 lead in the season series this year over the White Sox. Chicago is one game under .500 this season, and trails division-leading Detroit by 8.5 games. Chicago's chances at the post-season are slim, but Minnesota can put a dagger in them if they can win this series.
Monday's doubleheader comes about as the result of the game on June 14 at Target Field that got postponed by rain. This will be the last series between the White Sox and the Twins for 2011.
The pitching match-up for the opener will see former Twins' minor leaguer Philip Humber (8-8, 3.63 ERA) take the ball for the White Sox. Humber has not recorded a victory since a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on July 2, and is making his first start since taking a line drive to the head against the New York Yankees back on August 18. In his one start against the Twins this season, Humber got lit up for six runs on 11 hits in just 3.2 innings of work in a 6-2 Minnesota win back on July 7.
Anthony Swarzak (3-5, 4.14 ERA) will head to the mound for the Twins in the first half of the twin bill. Swarzak has faced the White Sox twice this season, winning a 6-3 decision back on July 10, and losing an 8-6 decision on August 30. In those two starts combined, he has pitched 10.1 innings, allowing nine runs (seven earned) on 10 hits. Swarzak has not recorded a victory since August 3, when he was the winning pitcher in Minnesota's 11-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
The first pitch for the first half of the doubleheader is scheduled for 1:10 PM Central time at Target Field. Twinkie Town is your home for all the in-game discussion, and we will have the recap here for you when the game concludes.