The Twins may have faltered last night, but the phrase "winners of nine of their last ten" is music to any team's ears. Minnesota will try to earn that description in Thursday afternoon's series finale in San Francisco.
The defending World Champions, who broke their five-game losing skid with a 5-1 victory last night, will send their ace Tim Lincecum to the mound. While the shaggy-haired hurler is always a threat to shut a team down, he hasn't been sharp lately. Lincecum is 0-2 with a 7.80 ERA in his last three starts. His control has been the main concern--he walked five batters in his last outing against Oakland.
Minnesota will counter with Brian Duensing, who unlike Lincecum is building off some positive momentum. Duensing pitched six strong innings allowing only two runs to the Padres his last time out.
If the Twins want to leave their first trip to San Francisco in six years with a series win, they may have to even out the catcher battle a little more. One would think "Joe Mauer vs. Eli Whiteside" would be an easy victory for Minnesota, but the Giants have got the better side of the deal in this series. Whiteside hasn't exactly lit the world on fire since becoming the full-time catcher for the injured Buster Posey, but he has four hits, four RBI and a homer in the first two games of the series. Meanwhile, Mauer has struggled since his long stint on the DL, going 3 for 20 with two RBI.
The Twins won't have veterans Jim Thome or Joe Nathan back today, but look for them to be activated from the DL for tomorrow's game.