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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, June 9 (All times Eastern)

Minnesota Twins (29-32) at Toronto Blue Jays (38-26), 7:07 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Minnesota - Ricky Nolasco (4-5, 5.65) Toronto - R.A. Dickey (6-4, 4.25)

(SportsNetwork.com) - Ricky Nolasco takes the mound opposite R.A. Dickey on Monday night when the Minnesota Twins open a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Nolasco will try to pick up where he left off against Milwaukee on Wednesday, when he went seven innings and gave up four runs on six hits to go along with seven strikeouts. Most of that damage came on a three-run homer to Aramis Ramirez in the seventh.

For Toronto, Dickey eyes up a third win in his last four starts. He labored through five innings at Detroit his last time out, as he allowed four walks and seven hits. However, Dickey also struck out four and yielded only two earned runs.

"It felt like a tightrope the whole game," Dickey said. "You have three or four games a year where your body is just cranky. Who knows what it's from? It could be that I'm getting close to 40 years old. That could be something, too.

"It's not an issue. I've had cranky days before and pitched well. It's just something I need to monitor and be ready to go (Monday)."

After reeling off six straight wins and 15 of 17 overall, Toronto suffered consecutive 5-0 losses to St. Louis over the weekend as the bats have suddenly gone silent.

The Blue Jays, one of the top hitting teams in the AL, combined for only seven hits in those two losses. Middle-of-the-lineup stalwarts Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion went 0-for-14.

"It's hard to put a finger on it," manager John Gibbons said of his team's first series loss in seven tries.

Minnesota has lost three of its last four games and currently resides at the bottom of the AL Central standings. The team is coming off Sunday's lopsided, 14-5 setback to the Houston Astros.

Twins pitchers gave up four home runs on the day, including a pair of grand slams to Chris Carter and Jon Singleton. Starter Samuel Deduno lasted just three innings.

Monday's opener kicks off a nine-game road swing for the Twins, who will also face Detroit and Boston during the trip. The team signed designated hitter Kendrys Morales to a prorated one-year, $12 million contract over the weekend, although he is not expected to play in this series.

Minnesota won two of three when these teams squared off in April.

06/09 10:34:55 ET