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Game 81 Preview: Twins at Tigers

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June 27, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn (53) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
June 27, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn (53) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Minnesota Twins (34-45) at Detroit Tigers (39-41)

Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Comerica Park

SB Nation Blog: Twinkie Town

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: Nick Blackburn (4-5, 7.74 ERA) vs. Duane Below (2-1, 2.70 ERA)

Another day, another dollar, another bad pitcher for the Twins. Blackburn was roughed up by the Tigers in May, lasting just two innings in a 11-7 Tigers win. He gave up 6 runs on 6 hits and two walks while throwing just 53 pitches. The Tigers' aggressive approach paid dividends against Blackburn and I would expect them to have a similar game plan tonight. We might see Blackburn adjust by throwing a couple more pitches in the dirt, especially to guys like Delmon Young and Brennan Boesch.

Blackburn hasn't been that much better since his start against Detroit, but he was an inexplicable 3-1 in June despite having an ERA of 6.92 in 5 starts. Other than a 11 run outburst against the Philadelphia Phillies, he never got more than 5 runs of support from his offense in that month. His last start involved more of the same, giving up 6 runs in 5 innings against the Chicago White Sox.

As for Below? Well, thanks for the heads up, Tigers organization. He has 22 strikeouts to just 4 walks in 33 innings. Worst of all, we can't rely on Below to come in and put out fires if Below himself is struggling today.

Outlook

Scherzer was excellent against the Twins in a rain-shortened start in May and I don't see any reason why tonight will be much different (other than the rain, hopefully). The Tigers probably won't knock out Blackburn as quickly as they did last time they faced off, but I don't see him getting through 5 innings without some serious damage being done.

Prediction

Curly fries for everyone tomorrow.