Rangers ace Darvish scratched, replaced by Former Twin Baker


The best pitching matchup in baseball could have been Phil Hughes against Texas' Yu Darvish, but it's not going to happen tonight.

While that will end some of the national appeal, there will be plenty of local appeal as former Twins pitcher Scott Baker will replace Darvish.

The Rangers ace was scratched Tuesday because of soreness in his neck. He underwent an MRI on his neck.

Baker spent parts of seven Major League seasons as a Twins starter and won 63 games for the Twins. He missed 2012 with an injury and started just three games for the Chicago Cubs last season, before signing with Texas this year.

Baker has started one game for the Rangers this season, he is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA.

His opponent will be Hughes, who has become the team's most consistent pitcher this season.

Hughes hasn't lost a start since tax day (April 15) and a sixth win in seven starts would help the Twins snap out of a four-game losing streak. He's been especially dominant in May, posting a 1.03 ERA, which is the second lowest by any Twins starting pitcher in the month. The club record is held by Jim Hughes, who went 6-0 with a 0.87 ERA in May of 1976, according to TwinsBaseball.com.

Darvish, meanwhile, remains one of the most dominant pitchers in the game. The 6-foot-5 ace has delivered a 4-2 record with an impressive 2.35 ERA. The Japanese star dominated the Tigers in his most recent outing. At one point he delivered a nasty eephus pitch to ex-Twins All-Star Torii Hunter, who could only laugh at the result.

Baseball fans can take their pick, but the duel at Target Field should be a good one.

SB Nation's New York Yankee affiliate poked fun at Hughes as he will return to Yankee Stadium later this week.

Hughes has looked everything like what the Yankees expected he'd be, but hopefully the old Phil Hughes, the one we Yankee fans are familiar with, will show up once he returns to homer-friendly Yankee Stadium.

Hughes, at one time, was considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball before his struggles at Yankee Stadium got the best of him. The Twins signed him to a three-year, $24 million contract and the every bit of that investment has paid off.

First pitch tonight is set for 7:10 p.m.

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