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Red Sox-Twins: Jim Thome Still Chasing 600 HR

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With any real hope of the Minnesota Twins climbing back into the AL Central race dashed by a sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, the Twins find themselves in an unusual position as the season heads into the dog days of August.

No, they haven't been mathematically eliminated, like Kansas City and Pittsburgh usually are by this point, but with a rotation and offense that's been so inconsistent, it's tough to see a scenario where the Twins make a serious run.  So now, we're on milestone watch, as Jim Thome resumes his quest for 600 HR.

Thome enters tonight's game against the Boston Red Sox sitting a 598, with three games left in the homestand.  And manager Ron Gardenhire isn't going to sit him on the road trip so he can hit it in front of the home fans, although he would really like for it to happen at home.  Gardenhire, in talking to mlb.com, said this:

"I think our fans really need to see this," Gardenhire said. "Unfortunately, we could end up on the road, and I'm not going to not play him on the road. So I just really hope something happens here in the next couple games. I think [the Red Sox are] going to throw a couple lefties [Erik Bedard on Tuesday and Jon Lester on Wednesday], but I'm going to leave him in there as long as his body holds up."

Yes, Twins fans would really love to be able to see Thome reach this milestone at Target Field.  It's been a disappointing season, starting with the death of Harmon Killebrew, and it just never got any better.  With the Twins hopes of a post season berth all but dashed, this would be a real shot in the arm.

First pitch is at 6:10, with Scott Baker (8-6, 3.01 ERA) going against Tim Wakefield (6-4, 4.99 ERA), who is also on a milestone watch.  With a win tonight, it would be career win #200 for the veteran knuckleballer.

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