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Updated: September 8th, 2011 11:03pm
Twins Daily: Delmon Young faring well with Tigers so far

Twins Daily: Delmon Young faring well with Tigers so far

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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Manager Ron Gardenhire has expressed his disdain for the term "spoiler" in recent weeks, but the Minnesota Twins likely won't even have the opportunity to play that role down the stretch anyway.

After recording back-to-back sweeps over the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians, the Detroit Tigers have created an 8.5-game gap in the American League Central with only three weeks to play.

The Twins, meanwhile, head into this weekend's series with the Tigers sitting a half game behind the Kansas City Royals in a battle to stay out of the division cellar.

So forget about playing spoiler. The Twins are simply trying to save face.

Numbers game

4: Wins needed by the Twins in their final 19 games to avoid losing 100 games for only the second time in franchise history.

2000: The last time the Twins finished in last place.

3: Home runs hit by Delmon Young in 97 plate appearances since joining the Tigers. Young is hitting .312/.320/.462 with three doubles as a triple as well, but he has drawn only one walk -- a sign that his free-swinging ways are not likely to change.

4: Home runs hit by Young in 325 plate appearances as a Twin.

Health report

A further injury update will be available Friday, but not much has changed since Wednesday's update.

On deck

Right-hander Kevin Slowey (0-4, 5.31) is set to face right-hander Brad Penny (9-10, 5.13) in Friday's series opener (6:05 p.m., 1500 ESPN).

Penny has faced the Twins four times this season, and he has not fared well -- to say the least -- posting a 7.13 ERA with 30 hits allowed and nine walks issued in 24 innings. Penny's struggles reach beyond the Twins, as he has allowed at least four earned runs in 14 of his 27 starts this season.

Slowey has gone from doghouse to penthouse over the past couple weeks, considering the circumstances surrounding the Twins' current pitching rotation. After spending much of the season injured and looking on from the outside, Slowey has posted back-to-back solid starts against the White Sox and Angels, allowing only four earned runs in 14 total innings, striking out seven and walking only two.

Coming up

• Saturday: @ Detroit, 3:10 p.m. RHP Anthony Swarzak (3-6, 3.95) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (14-8, 4.33)
• Sunday: @ Detroit, 12:05 p.m. LHP Scott Diamond (1-3, 4.56) vs. RHP Doug Fister (4-1, 2.64)
• Monday: Off day

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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