Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Twins' schedule about to get tougher

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: June 27, 2013 - 3:56 PM

 A late June series with the Royals wouldn't normally seem to be important, but the Twins have made it so with some so-so play lately. For one thing, they are 1-5 this season against Kansas City, a team they haven't lost the season series to since 2003.

But their 1-4 road trip to Cleveland and Miami has only added to the urgency, since the schedule takes a turn to the east after this weekend. The Twins have played only 13 games against the A.L. East this season, while Cleveland has played 26 and Detroit has played 19. All five teams in the East are above .500, and none of the three on the July schedule has lost a season series to the Twins since 2006, so the final 14 games before the All-Star break -- three with Toronto, four with Tampa Bay and seven against the Yankees -- loom as a tough test.

They'll have to hope they can keep Jeremy Guthrie's slump going. The Royals' righthander, who opened the season 5-0, is 2-5 since then and didn't make it out of the third inning last Thursday against the White Sox. But he's 2-0 in Target Field.

Tonight's lineups:

ROYALS

Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Eric Hosmer 1B
Billy Butler DH
Salvador Perez C
Mike Moustakas 3B
David Lough RF
Elliot Johnson 2B
Jarrod Dyson CF

Jeremy Guthrie RHP

TWINS

Thomas CF
Mauer C
Willingham DH
Morneau 1B
Arcia LF
Plouffe 3B
Parmelee RF
Dozier 2B
Florimon SS

Deduno RHP

Check back for updates.

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