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It's Blackburn vs. Nova In Finale

Last night the Twins jumped on A.J. Burnett early and cruised to a win, and they would like to repeat the same pattern this afternoon against rookie Ivan Nova.

Nova, who sports a 12-4 record, best for a rookie, has been on a hot streak lately, going undefeated in his last nine starts, getting 8 victories in that span. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the best run for a Yankees rookie pitcher since Whitey Ford in 1950.

If that’s not bad enough news for the Twins, it also looks like all signs are pointing to Alex Rodriguez returning today, too.

Minnesota will counter Nova with Nick Blackburn, who is on an anti-Nova streak of sorts, going 0-4 over his last five starts with a relatively heinous 7.98 ERA. For the season, he is 7-10 overall with a 4.53 ERA.

On the injury front, it looks like Michael Cuddyer will be available off the bench as a pinch hitter. Cuddyer hurt his neck during batting practice over a week ago, and the Twins have considered putting him on the disabled list, but have held off as he has seemed to improve over the last few days.

First pitch from Target Field is at 1:10.

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