Today I'll be rooting for either a blowout win or a 9th inning rally because Mariano Rivera figures to be unavailable. After 2 innings and 29 pitches yesterday, if I were Joe G. I would do all I could to give the 39 year old a day off after working his first multi-inning outing since last August.
A couple weeks ago Mo said it was a lack of arm strength that turned a pair of inside cutters into back-to-back jacks in the 9th. Why push him now?
It'll be up to AJ Burnett to find a way to stop Mauer and Morneau.
We've seen the best and worst of AJ on the mound. He started the season strong (19.2IP, 13H, 9BB, 17K) but went through a rough patch. Doc Halladay's utter dominance overshadowed a mediocre outing by Burnett in Toronto (7.2IP, but 7H and 4BB).
In 25.2IP against the Twins, Burnett has allowed 21 hits and 9BB. Then again, Mauer is hitting .438/.534/.813 since his return from the DL.
The Twins will put 25 year old Kevin Slowey on the mound, and he allows a lot of hits but not many walks. In his last 3 starts he's lasted 14 innings and had 22 hits (5IP 8H, 3IP 6H, 6IP 8H).