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Tigers provide perfect test for not-so-terrible Twins

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After 63 games last season, the Twins were 25-38, 8.5 games behind first-place Chicago in the American League Central Divison.

After 63 games this season, the Twins are 29-34, 6.5 games behind first-place Detroit in the American League Central Division.

Two things have changed. Chicago has traded first place for last place at this points, and the Twins are slightly better.

What hasn't changed: Detroit is still the team to beat.

So, if the not-so-terrible Twins can win a few games against the Tigers at Target Field this weekend, the rest of June sets up as a month in which Minnesota -- we hope you're sitting down -- can actually flirt with a .500 record.

After Detroit, the Twins face Chicago at home, Cleveland and Miami on the road and Kansas City at home. That's called a soft schedule -- a schedule which gets a lot tougher in July with 14 consecutive games against A.L East opponents, including seven games against the Yankees.

Back to the Tigers.

In the Twins' favor: this weekend they avoid Detroit starters Justin Verlander (8-4, 3.41 ERA) and Max Scherzer (9-0, 3.19).

Not in the Twins favor: Anibal Sanchez pitches Saturday. The last time he faced the Twins, he took a no-hitter into the 9th-inning ... broken up by Joe Mauer.

There's also Miguel Cabrera to worry about. He's still dominating at the plate, as Fox Sports North's Tyler Mason reports. In 10 games against Minnesota, he's hitting .306 with two homers and 12 RBI.

The Twins know they can't stop Cabrera, but hopefully limit the damage.

Sunday's starter, P.J. Walters, puts it in perspective: "He's not hitting 1.000. He's going to get outs. My job is to execute the pitches and keep him off balance the best I can there."

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