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Game 79: Tigers at Twins

Luke French (0-0, 0.00) vs. Kevin Slowey (10-3, 4.41), 8:10 p.m. EST

Following a 1-2 stop in Oakland, the Tigers travel to Minneapolis to play the team right behind them in the AL Central. Will Detroit return to Detroit on Sunday night in sole possession of first place? Or will the Twins be alongside them in the top spot?

Much like the Tigers' pitching staff did when they visited Busch Stadium, the Twins' Kevin Slowey wilted in the St. Louis heat during his last start. Pitching just three innings (one of his shortest outings of the season), Slowey allowed five runs and six hits, including two home runs. (Maybe we should cut him a break on those homers, however, since both of them were from Albert Pujols. Sometimes, when you're faced with awesome, you just can't stop it.)

Slowey's record against the Tigers is 3-0 with a 4.57 ERA in four starts. A win tonight would give him the most victories in the American League.

Luke French makes his first start for Detroit tonight, the primary thinking being that a left-hander could be useful against the Twins' lineup. But it's not like French didn't deserve the promotion anyway. In his past three starts with Triple-A Toledo, he allowed four earned runs over 23 innings, with 26 strikeouts versus three walks. (Yet he didn't pick up the win in either of those games, which tells you how the Mud Hens are playing right now.)

With Toledo, French has compiled a 4-4 record and 2.98 ERA. He appeared in two games with the Tigers back in May, coming out of the bullpen to pitch three innings, posting three strikeouts and three walks.

Twinkie Town has your SB Nation opposing view for this three-game series. We hope your holiday weekend is off to an excellent start.