On Deck: Twins

On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2013 season. 

The Opponent: The Twins are in a nosedive down the stretch of an already bad year, as they've won just three of their previous 10 games and are now just 1 1/2 games up on the White Sox, who are in the AL Central cellar.

Past 2013 Meetings: The teams split a four-game series in April at Target Field, with the Rangers winning the first two games of the series and the Twins coming back to take the last two.

Pitching Matchups: Friday — Yu Darvish (12-5, 2.68 ERA) vs. Liam Hendriks (0-2, 6.20); Saturday — Matt Garza (9-3, 3.69; 3-2, 4.44 as Ranger) vs. Mike Pelfrey (5-10, 5.06); Sunday — Travis Blackley (1-0, 4.50) vs. Kevin Correia (8-10, 4.32).

What's Hot: As we've said, there's a permanent spot in this space for Adrian Beltre, but aside from him, Elvis Andrus has remained hot, hitting .414 over the last week, and Ian Kinsler has picked it back up at the plate, hitting .400 over that time. Also, we're starting to see the Mitch Moreland from being he went on the DL in June as he's clubbed three homers in his last six games. The Rangers' bullpen is looking unbeatable again as Neal Cotts, Jason Frasor, Joe Nathan, Robbie Ross, Joakim Soria and even Tanner Scheppers are red-hot, giving up just one earned run in their last 11 2/3 innings combined.

Pedro Florimon is about all the Twins have going well right now at the plate, as he's hitting .500 over his last six games, albeit in just 14 at-bats. After that, it's a lot of mediocrity at the moment with Joe Mauer out of the lineup. Correia is coming off a scoreless, seven-inning outing his last time out.

What's Not: Matt Garza has now given up at least four earned runs in his previous five starts, a minor concern. David Murphy is still struggling and is losing playing time to Craig Gentry, while Leonys Martin busted out of a 1-for-19 stretch with a huge game against Felix Hernandez on Wednesday.

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Justin Morneau, who leads the Twins with 16 homers this season is hitting .053 over his last six games with his one hit in that time being a solo homer. Friday's starter, Hendriks, is coming off an outing in which he gave up seven earned runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Familiar Faces: Matt Garza started 24 games over his first two big-league seasons with the Twins before being dealt to Tampa Bay prior to the 2008 season. Ron Washington played for the Twins during his big-league career, and actually played in their alumni game prior to a Rangers game at Minnesota a couple of years ago. Rangers veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski played his first six MLB seasons with the Twins before being dealt to San Francisco and on to Chicago.

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