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Blue Jays At Twins: Minnesota Tries Again To Turn Things Around

The Minnesota Twins' 2011 season got off to an inauspicious start in Toronto back in April, as the Twins lost two of their first three games of the season at the Rogers Centre. Tonight, the Twins will try to make a fresh start of things and attempt to improve on baseball's worst record as they host the Blue Jays tonight at Target Field.

The Twins are just 12-23 through the first 35 games of the 2011 season, and no team in the majors finds themselves farther behind a division leader than the 10.5 games that Minnesota currently trails the Cleveland Indians by. In contrast, the Blue Jays are also under .500 so far this season, but trail the American League East-leading Tampa Bay Rays by just five games.

The Twins have still scored the fewest runs in baseball, with a mere 113 through their first 35 games, and are on pace for 523 for the season, a mark that would be their lowest since baseball went to a 162-game schedule. They have lost ten games this season by at least five runs, and are still at or near the bottom of the league in nearly every statistical category.

The pitching match-up for tonight is a rematch of what we saw on Opening Day, as Ricky Romero (2-4, 4.04 ERA) will take to the hill for the Blue Jays, and Carl Pavano (2-4, 6.64 ERA) will get the ball for the Twins. Romero easily got the better of the first match-up, as he allowed just one run and struck out seven in 6.1 innings. Pavano, on the other hand, got blasted for seven earned runs (including three homers) in four innings as the Blue Jays blew out the Twins 13-3.

The Twins will be hanging the jersey of Twins' legend Harmon Killebrew in their dugout this evening. Killebrew, the franchise's all-time leader in home runs and a Hall of Famer, announced today that he has chosen to stop his fight against esophageal cancer and has moved himself into hospice care to live out his final days.

Here are the lineups for Friday night's game. . .first for the visiting Blue Jays.

Yunel Escobar, shortstop
Corey Patterson, left field
Jose Bautista, right field
Adam Lind, designated hitter
Aaron Hill, second base
Juan Rivera, first base
J.P. Arrencibia, catcher
Edwin Encarnacion, third base
Rajai Davis, center field

Now for the homestanding Twins.

Denard Span, center field
Trevor Plouffe, shortstop
Jason Kubel, designated hitter
Justin Morneau, first base
Delmon Young, left field
Michael Cuddyer, right field
Danny Valencia, third base
Luke Hughes, second base
Drew Butera, catcher

First pitch at Target Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. You can check out the Game Thread from our friends at Twinkie Town to discuss tonight's action, and come back here for the recap when things have finished.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.