Fresh off of Friday's dramatic 2-1 victory in the 2011 home opener, the Minnesota Twins will look to keep the momentum going and get their record back to .500 when they face off with the Oakland Athletics once again at Target Field.
Today's pitching match-up will see Twins' right-hander Nick Blackburn (1-0, 1.59 ERA) head to the mound for Minnesota, while Oakland will counter with left-hander Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.29).
By far the Twins' best starter in Toronto, we turn to Blackburn tonight with an eye towards securing Minnesota's first series victory of the season. The keys for Nick are the same keys we'll be reading for the next 30 starts after this one: he'll need good command, he'll need to change speeds, and over the last year opposing batters have lit up his breaking balls so he'll need to be judicious in their use. In and out, fastball and changeup. That's the makeup for a lot of what Nick does.
Gonzalez is a fastball-curveball guy, which you don't see a lot of. He offers a changeup too, although if he throws one against a left-handed hitter tonight I'd be surprised. His fastball is used often early, but once the count works in his favor it's even odds on the curve. He also likes to bait with a fastball high out of the zone.
First pitch for this one is set for about thirty minutes from now, and you can jump into the Game Thread at Twinkie Town to follow all of the action!