Saturday, July 9, 2011

Twins will use 6-man rotation to start second half

The approaching All-Star break means the Twins have the opportunity to reset their starting rotation for another second half run. Coming out of the break the team also has to work with a double header against the Indians on Monday, July 18th. A day-night double header can always be a hassle for a pitching staff so the Twins had some decisions to make in regards to that challenge.

The Twins open the second half with a four game series against the Royals at Target Field. The first series in a 12-game AL Central homestand that will decided if the Twins are buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. The rotation for the Royals series will look like this:

Thursday, July 14 vs. Royals: Francisco Liriano
Friday, July 15 vs. Royals: Nick Blackburn
Saturday, July 16 vs. Royals: Carl Pavano
Sunday, July 17 vs. Royals: Brian Duensing

The Indians will be welcomed to town on Monday with the Twins having a chance to cut into their lead in the AL Central. Ron Gardenhire will look to Scott Baker and Anthony Swarzak to pitch in the doubleheader that starts the Indians series.

Monday, July 18 vs. Indians (Game 1): Scott Baker
Monday, July 19 vs. Indians (Game 2): Anthony Swarzak

Baker was pulled from his last start with a strained right flexor muscle in his elbow. The Twins training staff will reevaluate Baker on Tuesday to make sure he is in line to make his next start. Depending on how these tests go, the Twins could start the second half with a 13-man pitching staff. The early games coming out of the break could decide if the Twins need extra help in the bullpen to make it through a tough stretch of games.

The Twins first off day of the second half will not be until August 1st and by that time the future of the 2011 Twins could already be decided.

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