Series Preview: Rangers/Twins

Beginning Friday evening, the Rangers head north to the Twin Cities for a weekend series against the Minnesota Twins. Lone Star Dugout has your look at this three game set.

Rangers (53-67) at Twins (60-60)

Friday, 7:10 PM: Kason Gabbard, LHP (5-1, 3.83) vs. Carlos Silva, RHP (9-12, 4.30)

When we last saw Kason Gabbard, some stiffness in his pitching arm forced the lefty to make a premature exit Sunday evening against the Devil Rays. As a precautionary measure, the Rangers skipped his usual bullpen session this week. But team physician Dr. Keith Meister examined his forearm and proclaimed the setback a temporary one, and he'll be ready to go for Friday evening's affair at the Metrodome. The start will be the first against the Twins in his major league career.

Carlos Silva of the Twins had one of his best performances of the year fall by the wayside in Anaheim last weekend. The righty pumped out seven innings of scoreless baseball before having to exit due to some hamstring cramps. However, the Minnesota bullpen couldn't preserve his lead and it cost the Twins the game. Silva has enjoyed plenty of success at home this season, going 6-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 12 starts in the Twin Cities. Lifetime against the Rangers, however, he's just 2-4 with a 5.49 ERA in seven career starts. Michael Young has been a constant thorn in his side, compiling a .381 average (8-for-21) with two doubles, a home run and five RBI in his career against Silva.

Saturday, 6:10 PM: Kameron Loe (5-9, 5.80) vs. Boof Bonser, RHP (5-9, 4.77)
Although his recent rehab start at Double-A Frisco left something to be desired, the Rangers are expected to activated Kameron Loe from the 15-day disabled list in time to make his scheduled start on Saturday in Minneapolis. Back on Monday, Loe went three innings for the Roughriders, allowing 3 runs on a hit. He also walked five guys while striking out only one. His lone start against the Twins this season wasn't a good one, as he allowed five runs on eight hits over six innings in a 7-1 loss at home back on May 22nd. In four games against the Twins in his career, Loe is 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA.

A 6-2 loss to the Angels in his last outing dropped John P. "Boof" Bonser to a miserable 0-7 record and a 5.37 ERA in his last 11 starts – the first Minnesota pitcher to go 11 consecutive starts without a victory since LaTroy Hawkins in 1998. The scuffling Twins offense hasn't helped Bonser out much, falling short in eight of those 11 games by three runs or less. In two career starts lifetime against the Rangers, Bonser is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA.

Sunday, 1:10 PM: Kevin Millwood, RHP (8-9, 5.63) vs. Johan Santana, LHP (12-9, 3.02)
The second start of Kevin Millwood and his new plate angle was a success against the Royals earlier this week. Working off the first base side of the plate, Millwood allowed a run in the top of the first, then calmed down to allow one run and strike out nine batters over his seven innings of work. He was cruising at one point, retiring 12 Royals hitters in a row, and a late inning round-tripper by Gerald Laird proved to be enough for the veteran's eight victory of the year. In six career starts against the Twins, Millwood owns an 0-3 record and a 7.36 ERA.

The soon-to-be free agent Johan Santana delivered another dominant outing last weekend against the Mariners. He allowed three runs over seven innings of and was en route to his thirteenth victory of the season before Seattle first baseman Richie Sexson broke a tie in the ninth inning with a game-winning homerun. It marked the 10th time this season Santana has gotten a no-decision despite allowing three earned runs or less. Recently, he had been hampered by a torn fingernail on his pitching hand, but Santana has always been an awesome force in the second half and seems to be over his previous ailment already. The Rangers have had some success off Santana in eight career starts is 3-2 with a 5.05 ERA in eight career starts against the Rangers.

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