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Rays, Twins Doubleheader: Game 1 Preview

Jeremy Hellickson will lead the Tampa Bay Rays (12-11) against Nick Blackburn and the Minnesota Twins (9-13) in today's first game of the doubleheader. Blackburn (1-3, 4.01 ERA, 4.61 FIP) will be making his 5th start of the season. He previously faced the Rays on April 15, going 6 innings despite allowing 5 earned runs.

Opposing the righty Blackburn will be the soft-tossing Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 4.32 ERA, 4.43 FIP), coming off a 7-inning affair with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he allowed 3 runs and got a no-decision. Hellickson has filled in well in the wake of the Matt Garza trade, pitching into at least the 6th inning in each of his 4 previous starts.

Meanwhile, the Rays rebuilt bullpen, which had all but disappeared in the free agency market during the 2010 off season, has preformed admirably in the early goings. After another scoreless three appearances last night, the Rays bullpen lowered their ERA to 3.06, good for 4th best in the American League. Even with J.P. Howell still on the mend and likely to improve the bullpen, the Rays front office must be impressed with their handiwork.

Game Time: 1:10 p.m. ET
Broadcast: SunSports HD (TV) and WDAE 620 AM (Radio)

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.