Minnesota. That's Near Fargo, Isn't It? - Cubs vs. Twins, Friday 6/12, 1:20 CT

For the first five years of interleague play, the Cubs and Twins alternated home-and-home series; they played three series at Wrigley Field and two in Minnesota. The Cubs won ten of the fifteen games, including a three-game sweep at Wrigley in 2001.

That's the last time the Twins visited Wrigley Field; when the teams met in Minnesota in 2006, the Twins were in the middle of an 18-1 run. The Cubs were... not so good. The Twins swept the series and outscored the Cubs 18-3.

That was then, this is now. The Cubs may be struggling, but their pitching has been, for the most part, outstanding over the last road trip. The Twins, meanwhile, have a 9-20 record away from the Metrodome, where they are playing their final season.

Actually, I admire the Twins organization. They've always made the most out of their relatively limited financial resources. That is, in fact, the reason the Cubs hired Andy MacPhail away from them back in the 1990's -- unfortunately, Andy kept his small-market mentality intact when he came to the Cubs, with predictable results. But even after his departure, the Twins kept winning, even when Tom Kelly walked away from the manager's job. The Twins have made the playoffs in four of Ron Gardenhire's seven seasons and have had only one losing year under him.

Gordon Wittenmyer's notes column today includes this, which surprises me:
The Cubs are 10-3 when [Milton] Bradley doesn't play.

Also, Gordo says that Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells and Ryan Dempster will pitch the White Sox series. They will likely face, in this order: John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Jose Contreras.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
Cubs
vs. Kevin Slowey
Kevin Slowey
Twins
0-2 W-L 8-2
1.86 ERA 4.21
31 SO 51
8 BB 9
1 HR 12
vs. Min -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Randy Wells 0-2 6 6 0 0 0 0 38.2 31 9 8 1 8 31 1.86 1.01


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Kevin Slowey 8-2 12 12 0 0 0 0 72.2 95 35 34 12 9 51 4.21 1.43

Jessica told me I can't diss opposing pitchers any more, because look what happened yesterday with Russ Ortiz. So -- Kevin Slowey is wonderful, the best pitcher in the American League, kind to his mother, children and small animals, and cures whatever cancers Ted Lilly doesn't have time for.

In the meantime, this is his first-ever start vs. the Cubs, and he has faced only one current Cub -- Milton Bradley, who is 2-for-3 off him.

Randy Wells deserves a win one of these days; why not today? It's his first start vs. an AL team. One thing we can be pretty assured of today: no pitchers wasting time. Slowey has walked only nine in 72.2 innings and Wells only eight in 38.2. Given that the Cubs have played five extra-inning games in the last eight, that'd be a welcome change.

Today is a WGN game, but is also available on EI through FSN North and MLB.TV. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Overflow comment threads will post today at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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