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Francisco Liriano's "tired arm" pushes him back to Thursday and sets up great matchup with Cliff Lee

Aug 23, 2010, 10:46 AM EDT

Francisco Liriano was slated to pitch tonight, but instead his start has been pushed back to Thursday because of what manager Ron Gardenhire called “a tired arm.”
Liriano has struggled in two of his last three outings after throwing shutout ball for three straight starts, so the Twins will hope that a little extra rest can get him back on track.
And if nothing else it sets up an amazing pitching matchup Thursday, with Liriano facing off against Cliff Lee in the final game of a four-game series between first-place teams.
Nick Blackburn is filling in for Liriano tonight while rejoining the rotation in place of the injured Kevin Slowey following a month-long demotion to Triple-A. Blackburn fared well in four starts at Rochester, posting a 2.49 ERA and .229 opponents’ batting average in 22 innings while inducing 65 percent ground balls, but his 13/6 K/BB ratio was significantly less confidence-inspiring.
Blackburn also rejoins the rotation with a very difficult matchup against the Rangers, in Texas. In terms of offense at home, the Yankees are the only team in the league with a higher OPS or more runs than the Rangers, so it’s hardly an ideal way to ease someone back into the rotation.

  1. Kelly - Aug 23, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    As a Twins fan, I am having difficulty getting excited about Blackburn’s return. But he historically has managed some phenomenal pitching performances when I was dreading the match-up.
    They’ve handled Texas pretty well at home but going there in August may prove a more difficult task.

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