Series Preview: Rangers/Twins

Like the Rangers, the Minnesota Twins are another team desperately needing to make up ground in their division. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at the pitching matchups in a key three game series for both ballclubs.

Rangers (17-27) vs. Minnesota Twins (20-23)

Monday, 7:05 PM: Carlos Silva (2-4, 3.56 ERA) vs. Vicente Padilla (1-6, 5.77 ERA)

In his last start, the Rangers finally gave Padilla the backing he needed by providing him a six run cushion on Wednesday against the Devil Rays. How did he return the favor? Not very well. Padilla was dreadful on that day and was gone after giving up eight runs in just four plus innings. The loss dropped his record to 1-6 and the Rangers are now just 1-8 in games when the righty is on the hill. With a .418 OBP, batters leading off an inning have led Padilla into plenty of trouble this season. Tonight marks his fourth start at home where he's 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA. For the Twins, Carlos Silva has shown defiant signs of putting together a much better season then his 11-16, 5.94 numbers of a year ago. But he's been the victim of poor run support in many of his starts for Minnesota and his habit of dancing around the plate burned him in his last start when he allowed seven hits and five runs in six innings against Cleveland. He has a 2-3 record with a 4.37 ERA in his career against the Rangers. His nemesis is Michael Young, who is 7 for 18 with two doubles and a homerun in his career against Silva.

Tuesday, 7:05 PM: Johan Santana (4-4, 3.26) vs. Kameron Loe (1-3, 6.21)
In three games, two of them starts, Loe is 2-0 against the Twins and has yet to allow an earned run in 14 1/3 innings of work. Unfortunately, that's where the accolades stop. He's lost four of his last five starts and has seen his earned run average rise to 6.21. With a .417 opponents batting average when runners are in scoring position, Loe seems to be buckling in tight spots and has reverse that trend for the success to start. He'll be opposed by the great Johan Santana, who has also been victimized by a lack of offense. He struck out 11 Indians in his last start, but the Twins could generate no runs in support of him and two solo homeruns in seventh inning ended up sending him to his second loss in his last four starts. But Santana was attacking the strike zone and featured excellent command most of the evening. With a 5.72 ERA in seven career starts against Texas, the Rangers will look to resurrect some of the luck they've had against the perennial All-Star.

Wednesday, 1:05 PM: Boof Bonser (2-1, 3.91) vs. Robinson Tejeda (4-3, 4.53)
Tejeda overcame earlier arm troubles that had forced the Rangers to push back a start and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning on Friday against Houston. While he struck out six batters, he also walked four - a sign of some of his old command issues still lingering around. Still, he leads the Rangers with 34 strikeouts and remains arguably the most reliable arm in the starting rotation. And speaking of strikeouts, Boof Bonser struck out a career-best 11 batters on Friday in a win over Milwaukee. Much like Brandon McCarthy of the Rangers, Bonser has turned a corner for the Twins with the aid of some much improved command of the strike zone. His lone start against the Rangers came on August 2nd of last year when he allowed seven runs over four innings of work in a 10-2 loss.

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