After Thursday night's hard-fought game between the Rays and Twins - capped by Johnny Damon's walk off homerun in the tenth inning - tonight's game has the potential to be another close one. Nick Blackburn will be taking the hill for the Minnesota Twins, and Wade Davis will be on the mound for the Rays.
Nick Blackburn has been the Twins' most effective starter so far this season, winning one game while posting a 0.77 ERA. However, his peripheral statistics suggest that he's been pitching way above his head: he's walked exactly as many batters as he's struck out, he's allowed a hit an inning, and his 4.54 FIP does not paint a pretty picture. Blackburn will induce a large number of ground balls (50.8% last season), but he is no ace.
Taking the mound against Blackburn is Wade Davis, who has yet to win a game this season and has a 4.38 ERA so far. Davis is in the opposite situation as Blackburn, though: while his ERA seems high, his peripheral numbers look better than that. He has a 1.75 K/BB ratio, and while he's let up just over a hit an inning, he hasn't allowed a homerun so far this season. He's yet to look dominant out there on the mound, but there are hints there that he could improve going forward.
The game is scheduled for 7:05 PM tonight.