The Stage Is Set

StageSet.jpgAlthough the Twins’ bats could only get going for one inning this afternoon (scoring on hits from Redmond, Everett, and Gomez, as well as a costly TB throwing error), the strong outing from Francisco Liriano (7 IP, 1 ER, 7K) was a much-needed respite for the bullpen and a huge lift for the starting rotation.

With the victory (in splitting the Rays), the Twins will now have an off day on Monday before opening the much-anticipated 3-game matchup with the Chicago White Sox.  Realistically, a sweep of the ChiSox would give the Twins a good chance of winning the division, while taking two of three would at least keep them alive and kicking in the race.

Despite a horrendous stretch of baseball, the Twins have often looked like a completely different team at the Dome than they are on the road.  Plus, the White Sox have always had trouble winning late-season games in Minnesota, and Tuesday’s starter Javier Vazquez views the Metrodome as his own personal house of horrors.

Finally, the Twins always just seem to have a knack for coming through in a pennant race.  If you believe in the concept of “intangibles”, then the Twins should be favored to win this series.  As always, it will come down to the starting pitching and bullpens…most importantly keeping the “Sox Bombers” inside the park.

Preview (84-72, 2nd, 2.5 GB CWS): Scott Baker (9-4, 3.69) vs. Javier Vazquez (12-14, 4.32). Vazquez has a 1-4 career ledger at the Dome, while Baker also has struggled mightily against the Sox.  Both are power-style pitchers (Vazquez more so) who can rack up strikeouts but also give up the long ball. 

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