For what was once a good rivalry when the Brewers were a part of the AL Central (which was considered the AL West before 1994), the Twins have pretty much dominated the last 3 seasons going 11-4 against the Brew Crew and out-scoring them 99-54 during that period.
As I mentioned earlier, the pitching matchups in this series appear to favor the Twins, at least in the first two games anyway. Let's take a look.
Tonight: Scott Baker (6-5, 4.41) vs. Chris Narveson (5-4, 5.79)
Following a couple of rough outings versus Oakland and Kansas City, Baker was absolutely electric in his last start against Colorado pitching 7 innings of shutout ball, striking out 12 and walking only 1. Pitch control has been Baker's M.O. for the past 3 starts in which has allowed a total of 3 free passes. He has struggled on the road this season, but has pitched well in night games, so perhaps the two will balance each other out and we'll get a serviceable outing from Baker tonight. As for Chris Narveson, he will be making his 11th start of the season and has not pitched very well. I bet the Twins will have their right-handed bats out in full-force tonight as Narveson is giving up a .324/.394/.573 line against righties this season. This is a winnable game for the Twins.
Tomorrow: Francisco Liriano (6-4, 2.98) vs. Manny Parra (1-5, 3.91)
If the Twins take game 1 vs. the Brewers, they stand a good chance to take the series because this is a best matchup of the series. Liriano has been brilliant as of late allowing 3ERs or less in each of his last 5 starts while striking out 41 and walking only 7. I feel bad for the lefties who have to face Liriano as has he has allowed a .178/.189/.219 line against them while striking out 25 and walking none. His opposition is Manny Parra who, after a long stint in the bullpen to begin the year, will be making his 3rd start of the season. Parra owns a career 5.01ERA and really isn't anything special. He started a game against the Twins last year, pitched 3 1/3rd innings, gave up 9 runs (8 earned) and the Brewers lost to the Twins 11-3. This is a very winnable game for the Twins.
Thursday: Nick Blackburn (6-4, 5.80) vs. Yovani Gallardo (6-3, 2.59)
This is easily the toughest game of the series for the Twins. Yovani Gallardo has been a diamond in the rough for the Brewers this year with 103Ks and 44BB in 94IP. He's been really good in June throwing 26 innings in 4 starts with a 2.08 ERA and .191 BAA. Blackburn on the other hand has been wildly inconsistent at-best and has generally been pretty terrible in his past 4 starts watching his ERA balloon from 4.28 to 5.80 over that period. For Blackburn, the difference seems to be whether the game is at home or away. At home, he has a 3.19 ERA on the season and on the road, it's a putrid 9.09. Unless Blackburn pulls something out of his butt for this one, I'm seeing a loss here.
The Twins have won 6 straight road series against National League competition and this one has the potential to be the 7 in a row. I'm hoping that Joe Mauer can join Delmon Young and Justin Morneau on the hit parade, I think that would really fire up the offense. Go Twins.