Derek Holland after his previous complete game shut out. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Texas Rangers (35-28) at Minnesota Twins (23-38) Preview Game 1

The Texas Rangers are traveling to play the Minnesota Twins for a three-game set, which begins a 10-game road trip consisting of 11 days. Each team heads into tonight’s game with one win as their current streak. The Rangers have taken seven of their last 10 while the Twins have taken six of their previous 10.

The game went very well last night in the Rangers favor – although Alexi Ogando struggled a bit he was still awesome on the mound in my opinion – and they’ll look to continue that on the road tonight. However, they haven’t had much success at Target Field losing their previous six games there.

As a reminder for those who aren’t familiar, Ian Kinsler is on paternity leave for the birth of his second child who was born on Wednesday afternoon. However, that’s not much of an upset since he hasn’t been performing his best on the road. The Rangers still have Cruz and Hamilton in the lineup who have been producing big numbers.

Pitching Matchups

LHP Derek Holland gets on the hill tonight for Texas. Holland is 5-1 with an ERA of 4.36 and 60 strikeouts. Away from home, the 24-year-old lefty has allowed just 14 runs on 40 hits over 43.1 innings so it’s safe to say that he has been decent on the road – in my opinion, better than at home. He is coming off two straight wins – one on May 30 at Tampa Bay where he didn’t have the best outing allowing five runs on five this in 5.2 innings but he made up for that in his next outing in Cleveland where he pitched a complete game shutout allowing only five hits.

Leaving last Saturday’s game with soreness in his back, RHP Nick Blackburn is scheduled to make his start for the Twins tonight. The 29-year-old right-hander is 5-4 this season with as 3.47 ERA and 40 strikeouts as well as 22 walks. At home this year, he has allowed half as many runs as hits in 26 innings – resulting in one hit per inning and one run per two innings on average. In his last four starts, he has three wins and one no decision. His last time out was at Kansas City where he allowed two runs on seven hits over five innings. His last start at home was a complete game in which he allowed two runs on seven hits.

Pitchers vs. Hitters

LHP Derek Holland: The Twins have a combined average of .313 against this lefty. Danny Valencia is 2-for-3, Denard Span is 3-for-8 with one double, one RBI and one walk, Michael Cuddyer is 2-for-8 with one RBI, one walk and one strikeout, Delmon Young is 2-for-7 with two strikeouts, one walk and one RBI and Alexi Casilla is 1-for-2 with one walk and one RBI.

RHP Nick Blackburn:
The Rangers have a combined batting average of .75 against Blackburn. Michael Young has the most experience and is 4-for-11 with one homer, three RBIs and three strikeouts. Adrian Beltre and David Murphy are each 4-for-11 with four RBIs and one strikeout for Adrian and one double, one triple, two RBIs, one walk and one strikeout for Murph. Josh Hamilton is 4-for-9 with two RBIs and two strikeouts and Nelson Cruz is 1-for-3 as is Elvis Andrus, Yorvit Torrealba and Andres Blanco.

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