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Updated: June 30th, 2011 4:07pm
Twins Daily: Liriano gets rematch against Gallardo, who owns the Twins

Twins Daily: Liriano gets rematch against Gallardo, who owns the Twins

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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Numbers game

7: Consecutive losses for the Minnesota Twins to the Milwaukee Brewers.

2.05: The ERA for Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo in three career starts against the Twins. Gallardo, who will face the Twins Friday night, has 23 strikeouts to only six walks in 22 innings, allowing 17 hits (14 singles) and zero home runs.

3: Brewers hitters with 14 home runs or more -- Rickie Weeks (14), Ryan Braun (16) and Prince Fielder (21).

1: Twins hitters with 10 home runs or more -- Michael Cuddyer (10).

10: RBIs for Braun and Fielder against Twins pitchers in a three-game series last weekend. The pair combined to go 6-for-21 with two walks, two doubles and two home runs.

Health report

• The Twins are hoping Alexi Casilla (sore back/thumb) will return to the lineup on Friday. Casilla had previously played every game since May 21 before sitting out Wednesday's 1-0 win over the Dodgers.

• OF Delmon Young (right ankle sprain) is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester as soon as Monday. He is eligible to come off the disabled list during the All-Star break, which means he could return to action on July 13.

• RHP Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) was supposed to throw 50 pitches for Single-A Fort Myers on Wednesday night, but the Miracle were rained out.

• OF Jason Kubel (sprained foot) was forced to leave his rehab game with Fort Myers on Thursday night in the third inning due to suffering a setback with his sprained left foot.

• OF Denard Span (concussion) continues to make progress, and trainers are hopeful he can begin taking batting practice outdoors this weekend.

• 1B Justin Morneau underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove a fragment of herniated disk in his neck. The Twins will provide a further update on Friday.

On deck

The Twins look to snap that losing streak while Brewers starter Gallardo (9-4, 3.92) looks to continue his dominance when a three-game series commences at Target Field on Friday night (7:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN) in a rematch of last Saturday's pitching matchup.

Twins starter Francisco Liriano (4-7, 4.98) has endured two poor starts since the beginning of May -- an illness-shortened outing against Detroit on May 10, and last weekend's 3 2/3-inning clunker against Milwaukee where he allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits and two walks. Aside from that, Liriano has been very effective in his other six outings, which has helped to lower his ERA from 9.13 on April 27. Overall, the drop-off in Liriano's effectiveness from last year to this year can be attributed to three main things -- fewer strikeouts (7.59 K/9 as opposed to 9.44 in 2010), more walks (4.85 BB/9 vs. 2.72) and fewer groundballs induced (46% vs. 54%).

But even with the two aforementioned clunker outings, Liriano has still posted a 2.96 ERA over his last eight starts, with an opponents' OPS of .551.

Coming up

• Saturday: vs. Milwaukee, 6:10 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (5-6, 4.24) vs. LHP Chris Narveson (5-5, 4.42).
• Sunday: vs. Milwaukee, 1:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (6-6, 3.64) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (7-2, 4.77).
• Monday: vs. Tampa Bay, 12:10 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (5-7, 4.69) vs. LHP David Price (8-6, 3.43).

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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