After falling to the Oakland Athletics three straight games over the weekend, the Minnesota Twins look to make it an even 3-3 since the All-Star Break against the Baltimore Orioles tonight. The offense has carried the team so far in this series, pounding away for 19 runs in the first game and then bailing out Samuel Deduno with 6 unanswered runs in last night’s affair.
Having said that, many eyes will be on the Twins pitching tonight, specifically starter Francisco Liriano. He is the well-documented object of desire for many teams who consider themselves “buyers” as the July 31st trade deadline approaches. The Twins will hope that Liriano picks up where he left off in his last start so that his price continues to sky rocket. Another good start might just lend enough substance to their case that Liriano can be a consistent pitcher and therefore should demand an attractive package in a trade. On the other hand, all it takes is one “Frankie-you-have-derailed” start and his value goes back down. July is always a fickle time when it comes to estimating player value, and it is that much more complicated with Liriano.
Here is manager Ron Gardenhire’s starting lineup for tonight’s game:
Tommy Hunter will be the starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles as the Twins offense, sans one of last night’s heroes in Ryan Doumit, tries to stay hot. Jim Thome, listed on the Orioles’ official roster as a designated hitter, takes the night off. If nothing else, that means Twins play-by-play man Dick Bremer gets the night off from his Thome bashing campaign. We get it, Dick; he’s been on a lot of teams in the last couple years. It’s OK, really. You don’t need to talk about it with exasperated sarcasm each time he’s at the plate. Time to let it go, Dick. Here is the rest of manager Buck Showalter’s lineup:
Hopefully the Twins can find a combination of continued production on offense and another effective start from Liriano tonight. If they do, they can give their bullpen a much, much needed rest. Because don’t forget; Nick Blackburn is back in the fold later this week.