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Game 80: Tigers at Twins

Edwin Jackson (6-4, 2.49) vs. Francisco Liriano (4-8, 5.62), 4:10 p.m. EST

Happy 4th of July to you! How much will the Tigers and Twins have in them, after playing 16 innings of baseball into the morning, then turning around for an afternoon game today? (Perhaps more importantly, how many pitchers will each team have available?) Will more Tigers fans outside the metro Detroit area get to see today's game, unlike the last time the Tigers were on FOX's Game of the Week and at the bottom of the regional coverage totem pole?

One thing that would keep the Twins in contention for the AL Central right up to the very end would be a return to prominence by Francisco Liriano. And while he's not the pitcher he was in 2006, Liriano might be getting closer to that form. He's won his last two starts, allowing five runs in 12 innings with 12 strikeouts. (However, he's also given up 11 hits and seven walks in those two games, so it's still a work in progress.)

Liriano faced the Tigers in early May, and held them to two runs and four hits in 7.1 innings, with nine strikeouts. In six starts at the Metrodome this year, he has a 1-4 record and 5.30 ERA.

Hopefully, Edwin Jackson got plenty of rest last night, because he's due for a long outing today, regardless of how well he pitches. The Tigers used seven pitchers in last night's extra-inning marathon, maybe half of which could help out today.

But has Jackson really gone winless in his past four appearances? Despite giving up three runs or fewer in each of those games? Such is life without run support. The Tigers have won the last two games Jackson has started, however, which speaks to how he's fought to keep his team in the game while they try to scrape together some runs. In his one start against the Twins earlier this year (also in Minneapolis), Jackson gave up five runs and seven hits in six innings. On the road this year, Jackson is 3-3 with a 2.12 ERA in nine starts.