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Game Thread #44: Brewers (26-17) at Twins (21-23)

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After losing the first two games in this weekend's series, the Brewers have clinched their sixth series loss to the Twins in seven meetings, and done so in ugly fashion. The Brewers' lone series win in that time was June 15-17 of 2007, when the Brewers took two of three from the Twins in the Metrodome.

On ESPN tonight, the Twins send Scott Baker to the mound to attempt to complete the sweep. Baker is 1-5 with a 6.98 ERA in seven starts in 2009, leads the AL in losses and is second in home runs allowed (10). May has been his worst month over the course of his career: he's posted a 6.27 ERA in May, almost a full run higher than April (5.29), and over two runs higher than any other month. Baker has faced the Brewers four times and is 2-2 with a 5.62 ERA.

The Brewers, meanwhile, send Dave Bush (3-0, 3.74) to the mound. Bush has won each of his last two starts, and his control has been very impressive of late: Bush has walked just three batters in his last 32 innings. He's 1-4 with a 4.18 ERA against the Twins in his career (including starts with the Blue Jays), but is 4-3 with a 3.27 ERA in interleague play over ten starts.

J.J. Hardy is out of the lineup again today with back spasms, so Craig Counsell is back in there, as is Casey McGehee, who is 5-for-8 in his last three games with three walks. Bill Hall is playing at third base but has dropped all the way to ninth in the lineup, as noted by the JS:

SS Craig Counsell
2B Casey McGehee
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
CF Mike Cameron
RF Corey Hart
DH Mat Gamel
C Mike Rivera
3B Bill Hall

Jorge Julio could probably use some rest today, but the rest of the bullpen looks pretty fresh:

Jorge Julio pitched 1.2 innings yesterday and has appeared in two straight games.
R.J. Swindle faced one batter yesterday, and has appeared in two straight games.
Seth McClung has not pitched since Friday.
Mark DiFelice has not pitched since Friday.
Mitch Stetter has not pitched since Friday.
Carlos Villanueva has not pitched since Thursday.
Todd Coffey has not pitched since Thursday.
Trevor Hoffman has not pitched since Thursday.

It's pretty early to be watching the scoreboard/standings, but today is an opportunity for the Brewers to gain some ground on the Cardinals, who entered the day tied for first but lost 3-2 to the Royals. If the Brewers can win tonight and take two of three from the Cardinals starting tomorrow, they'll reopen a two game lead.

Sunday's Game Thread is now open.