09/02/10 1:53 AM ET
Twins, Rangers set for possible playoff preview
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
On Friday, the two division leaders will square off in the first of three games in Minnesota that could impact the postseason picture. Game time is scheduled to be 7:40 p.m. CT, following the Twins' 50th-anniversary ceremonies scheduled for 7:10.
But first things first.
The American League Central-leading Twins swept the Rangers in three games at Target Field in May and lead the season series against Texas, 4-3. Minnesota has won eight of the past 13 matchups against the first-place Rangers dating back to last season.
The Rangers' Derek Holland, who replaced Rich Harden in the rotation, will get the starting nod. Holland is 2-2 with a 5.16 ERA in five starts this season and 8-14 with a 6.06 ERA in 26 career starts.
Harden has been moved to the bullpen.
"He might be able to give us two innings of all-out baseball, instead of having to go through an opposing lineup nine times," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It could get to the point where he could move through the pecking order just like everybody else out there."
Twins hurler Nick Blackburn was scheduled to start on Friday, but he was used in the 13th inning of Thursday's 10-9 loss against Detroit. Blackburn surrendered what turned out to be a game-winning home run.
The Twins purchased the contract of right-hander Matt Fox from Triple-A Rochester to make the start. Fox last pitched for the Red Wings on Monday at Pawtucket and allowed two runs on four hits in six innings. He made 35 appearances (21 starts) for Rochester and posted a 6-9 record with a 3.95 ERA.
Rangers: Texas staying Young
Michael Young has already had quite a season, and it could get better. Young has 20 home runs this season, the fourth time he has hit at least 20 home runs for the Rangers in a season in his career. He is just the ninth player in team history with four or more 20 homer campaigns. Among active players, Young ranks second with 1,481 games without a postseason appearance. The Cardinals' Randy Winn tops the list with 1,693 games without a playoff appearance.
Twins: Cuddyer on cusp of 500 RBIs as a Twin
Michael Cuddyer has 497 RBIs for his career and is three RBIs away from becoming the 10th player to collect 500 RBIs in a Twins uniform. Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett, Tony Olivo, Gary Gaetti, Rod Carew, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau and Bob Allison are the other players to accomplish the feat. ... Joe Mauer has 41 doubles and is on pace to set a franchise record with 50 doubles in a season. He has 199 doubles in his career.
The Rangers finished August with a 13-15 record, snapping a stretch of three straight winning months. The only other losing month this season was April. ... Young ranks fifth on the franchise's all-time home runs list with 157 home runs, one more than Alex Rodriguez (156). ... Josh Hamilton needs three RBIs to reach 100 RBIs for the season. ... The Twins will host an on-field ceremony to honor the 50 Greatest Twins on Friday. The club will host a Legends Game on Sunday. ... After pinch-hitting on Thursday, Jim Thome is still day-to-day with his back injury, but hopefully will be ready to DH on Friday. ... With Minnesota reshuffling its rotation after Thursday night's long game, Carl Pavano will pitch on Saturday, followed by Nick Blackburn on Sunday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.