Twins-Oakland series preview

  • Updated: May 18, 2011 - 12:29 AM

TWO-GAME SERIES AT OAKLAND-ALAMEDA COUNTY COLISEUM

Wednesday, 9:07 p.m. • FSN, 1500ESPN

RHP Carl Pavano (2-4, 5.89 ERA) vs.

RHP Brandon McCarthy (1-4, 3.34)

Thursday, 2:37 p.m. • FSN, 1500ESPN

RHP Nick Blackburn (2-4, 3.70) vs.

RHP Tyson Ross (3-2, 2.50)

TWINS UPDATE

Pavano was the winning pitcher in the home opener April 8 against Oakland. The Twins won 2-1 that day to move to 3-4 on the season. It's the closest they have been to .500 since Opening Day. Pavano has struggled since then and has been trying to find his sharp pitches in bullpen sessions. "Baby steps," he said. He threw 51/3 scoreless innings in his most recent outing, against Toronto on Friday, but he gave up seven hits and walked three and was not happy because he didn't set the right tempo early. ... Entering Tuesday, Twins pitchers had given up 46 home runs this season, the third-most in baseball. ... The Twins won two of three games at Oakland last season. All three games were decided by one run. ... After throwing 73 pitches Sunday, righthander Kevin Slowey isn't expected to be available out of the bullpen until the weekend.

ATHLETICS UPDATE

After facing Seattle's top two starters this week, the Twins get the back end of the Athletics rotation for two games. McCarthy was a hot prospect with the White Sox who was traded to Texas but has thrown 100 innings in a season only once. He suffered three stress fractures in his shoulder and thought about quitting last year, but he has stuck it out. Ross is replacing Dallas Braden in the A's rotation and is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his past four starts. Braden had surgery Tuesday to repair his left (throwing) shoulder and is expected to miss the rest of the season. ... All-Star closer Andrew Bailey is working his way back from a strained forearm. Brian Fuentes, who finished last season with the Twins, has been handling closing duties in Bailey's place.

LA VELLE E. NEAL III

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