First place in the American League Central is at stake this week as the Twins head to the Windy City to take on the rival Chicago White Sox.

Heading into Game One of the three-game series Tuesday at 7:10pm, the teams are tied atop the ALC standings with matching 63-49 records.  My favorite part of the standings right now is that they've left the Detroit Tigers in the dust: the Motor City Kitties are injury-ridden and sitting in third place, nine games behind.  For the season series against the Sox, the Twins have the upper hand, taking six of their nine contests so far in 2010.

The Twins have really turned it on since the All-Star break, forging a 17-7 record and winning 12 of their last 15 games.  Tonight, Scott Baker will face right-hander Freddy Garcia, who is 10-6 with a 3.73 ERA in 21 career starts against Minnesota.  Meanwhile, Baker is 5-3 with a 5.77 ERA in 12 lifetime starts against Chicago.

Any predictions for the series?  I'm gonna go ahead and call a juicy Thome Tater.  P.S. I missed you guys while on vacation, so I got you these links...

  • Jock-swiping Twins locker room attendant. [Deadspin]
  • Chivalry is dead when it comes to foul balls. [MLB]
  • Justin Morneau's head still hurts. [Star Tribune]
  • The Big Unit: an oldie but a goodie. [BLB]
  • Breaking down Carl Pavano. [K-Bro]
  • Tell us how you really feel Brandon Phillips. [Josh Q. Public]
  • The all-knowing Ichiro bobblehead. [Mariners]

Just a reminder: you have until August 17 to vote online for Michael Cuddyer's Pepsi Refresh bid to give the Courage Center $200,000 toward a new ballpark so the Rolling Twins softball teams don't have to play in a parking lot anymore.  You can also text TWINS to 76462.  Cuddy and the Twins are neck-and-neck with the Tampa Bay Rays and Milwaukee Brewers, so every vote counts!

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Twins winning streak ends at eight

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Twins look to regain control of AL Central