Chicago Cubs vs. Minnesota Twins Preview, Friday 6/8, 7:10 CT

Happy times, for a time: Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair is greeted by center fielder Joe Mather after hitting a two-run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Cubs begin the rest of their interleague schedule tonight against a team that's struggled almost as much as they have. Possible wins, perhaps! The next 12 games will be against American League teams, six of them in AL parks -- so at last, Alfonso Soriano can play without us having to watch him lumber across major league left fields.

It won't get any easier after this weekend, with the Tigers and Red Sox coming to Wrigley Field and then the Cubs heading to the South Side for their annual trip there to meet the White Sox, who are playing well. The Cubs are 0-3 so far in interleague play, being swept by the Sox at Wrigley; after this series in Minnesota, I wouldn't hold out too much hope for many more interleague wins.

And I'm an optimist by nature. But it is what it is. Hope to see some of you at Target Field this weekend. It's still worth the trip, to see this new stadium. If you're heading that way tonight, find me in section 124, row 30.

This will be the Cubs' third all-time visit to Minnesota; the previous two were at the Metrodome, where in 1998 a Cubs team headed to the postseason lost two of three to a Twins team that lost 92 games, and in 2006 a Twins club that wound up with 96 wins and an AL Central title swept a Cubs team that lost that number of games (and outscored the Cubs in that series 18-3).

The teams are a bit more evenly matched this year -- both bad -- and the all-time series between the teams stands Cubs 11, Twins 10.

Cubs lineup:

Johnson LF, Castro SS, DeJesus RF, Soriano DH, LaHair 1B, Mather CF, Clevenger C, Barney 2B, Stewart 3B

Twins lineup:

Revere CF, Carroll 2B, Willingham LF, Morneau DH, Doumit C, Parmelee 1B, Plouffe 3B, Dozier SS, Mastroianni RF
Today's Starting Pitchers
Travis Wood
Travis Wood
Cubs
vs. P.J. Walters
P.J. Walters
Twins
0-2 W-L 2-1
4.56 ERA 3.69
18 SO 21
10 BB 13
6 HR 5
vs. Min -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Travis Wood 0-2 4 4 0 0 0 0 23.2 15 12 12 6 10 18 4.56 1.06


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - P.J. Walters 2-1 5 5 1 0 0 0 31.2 30 13 13 5 13 21 3.69 1.36

Travis Wood has never faced the Twins. The only player on their current roster he has faced is Jamey Carroll (0-for-5). (The batter-vs-pitcher link above says he's faced Ryan Doumit, but with zero PA, and Doumit's baseball-reference page says this didn't happen.) In short, who knows?

P.J. Walters faced the Cubs in his major-league debut April 17, 2009 at Wrigley Field, when he was with the Cardinals. (Remember those players? Seems like a very long time ago.) Anyway, Walters has bounced up and down between the minors and majors and is now on his third team. He tweaked his ankle in his last start. Maybe the Cubs can take advantage. Or not. No current Cub has more than five AB against him (Alfonso Soriano, 0-for-5).

Today's game is on WGN.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Twins site Twinkie Town.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 7:10 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 8:10, 9:10 and 9:55 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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