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Twins Vs. Athletics: Starting Lineups For Friday's Opener

Seeking to pull themselves out of last place in the American League Central, the Minnesota Twins will open the second half of their schedule with a manageable three-game set at home with the Oakland Athletics.

The Twins will have the unfortunate task of facing promising Oakland right-hander A.J. Griffin, a 24-year-old hurler who starred at the University of San Diego and broke into the big leagues less than a month ago. Griffin not only has posted three consecutive six-inning starts to open his MLB career, but has yielded a grand total of nine hits and five walks through 18 innings, good enough for a sparkling 0.78 WHIP.

Manager Ron Gardnehire will opt to break the series with starter Francisco Liriano in game one, in a clear vote of confidence for the talented yet inconsistent left-hander. Though he has lowered his brutal early season ERA by more than two runs since rejoining the rotation, Liriano's 10 walks in his last two first half apperances could be a sign of things to come.

Here are the starting lineups for Friday:

1. Denard Span - CF
2. Ben Revere - RF
3. Joe Mauer - DH
4. Josh Willingham - LF
5. Justin Morneau - 1B
6. Trevor Plouffe - 3B
7. Brian Dozier - SS
8. Drew Butera - C
9. Jamey Carroll - 2B
Francisco Liriano - SP

1. Coco Crisp - CF
2. Jemile Weeks - 2B
3. Josh Reddick - RF
4. Yoenis Cespedes - DH
5. Chris Carter - 1B
6. Jonny Gomes - LF
7. Derek Norris - C
8. Brandon Inge - 3B
9. Brandon Hicks - SS
A.J. Griffin - SP

For more on the Twins, head over to Twinkie Town. For more A's coverage, visit Athletics Nation. And for the best MLB analysis on the web, be sure to check out Baseball Nation.

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