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Updated: August 3rd, 2010 9:28pm
Twins lose 6-4 to Rays, Matt Guerrier continues to struggle

Twins lose 6-4 to Rays, Matt Guerrier continues to struggle

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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In news that doesn't involve Brett Favre, the Twins lost their second consecutive game to the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, 6-4.

Brian Duensing served up a three-run homer to Sean Rodriguez in the bottom of the first inning, and it looked like he was headed for a clunker, but the lefty followed with five scoreless innings. This was Duensing's third solid start since replacing Nick Blackburn in the starting rotation.

The biggest concern from Tuesday night's loss -- aside from the fact that the Twins look entirely overmatched against a superior Rays squad -- is Matt Guerrier's continued struggles.

After shaving his ERA down to 1.59 at the end of June, Guerrier has now allowed runs in six of his last 15 outings, including 12 earned runs in a total of 13 innings. Guerrier has walked six and allowed 18 hits over that stretch as well, striking out only eight. As a result, his ERA now sits nearly two full runs higher at 3.45.

The premise of trading for closer Matt Capps was twofold: The Twins gained a legitimate ninth-inning reliever while extending the bullpen bridge to the fifth and sixth innings.

Guerrier doesn't figure to struggle forever, but at some point the Twins are going to need to beat the Rays. And the Yankees. And they'll need a full complement of relievers to do so, including Guerrier.

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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