Silva set to start as Twins go for sweep

Silva set to start as Twins go for sweep

Speed has always been a necessity of the Twins, mostly due to the team's inability to drive in runs with the long ball.

There is hope that power will eventually come in regularity for the club, but for now, the Twins are set to try to build a team around their trademark running ability. That was part of the reason for the team's decision on Tuesday night to designate third baseman Tony Batista for assignment and recall Jason Bartlett from Triple-A Rochester.

Looking for a spark that perhaps Bartlett's speed could provide, there were plenty of situations lately where Twins manager Ron Gardenhire noticed his club's lack of speed had begun to plague the club.

"I look around and I saw we would get guys in a rundown and couldn't catch them," Gardenhire said. "I mean we just didn't have a lot of team speed. If you get into a rundown, you want to be able to run somebody down and tag them without 18 throws, and we had that all around the infield."

Judging by Carlos Silva's starts so far this season, the Twins will need that speed to take hold on the basepaths and help produce runs on Thursday. The starter has begun to regain control of his sinkerball, but it's been that pitch's ineffectiveness that has hurt Silva for much of the season.

The Red Sox, though, will have their own pitching questions as starter Tim Wakefield has been ailing from back problems that at first had put this start in question.

Pitching matchup
MIN: RHP Carlos Silva (2-8, 7.73 ERA)
There still is a little too much sink missing from Silva's sinker. In only his second start since rejoining the Twins rotation, Silva struggled to make it through six innings. The Twins seemed to be pleased by some progress that Silva made by keeping more pitches down in the zone, but he will have to severely limit his mistakes against the Red Sox if he is to pick up his first victory since May 9. Silva's eight losses so far this year equals his total number of losses in each of the past two seasons.

BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (4-7, 3.93 ERA)
Another strong performance by Wakefield went unrewarded after Jonathan Papelbon uncharacteristically gave up the Red Sox lead against Texas on Friday. Wakefield pitched seven innings against Texas, giving up two earned runs, four hits and striking out six. Wakefield has given up three earned runs or fewer in his last three starts, but has only gotten one win.

Player to watch
Luis Castillo is coming off a night where he was on base three times and scored one run as part of a Twins victory. He will try to continue that strong performance against Wakefield, off of whom he is 5-for-12 lifetime with two RBIs.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN North/ESPN 2

On radio
• WCCO Radio 830

Up next
• Friday: Twins (LHP Francisco Liriano, 5-1, 2.10) at Pirates (RHP Ian Snell, 7-3, 4.75), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Twins (RHP Boof Bonser, 1-1, 5.48) at Pirates (LHP Paul Maholm, 2-5, 4.56), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Twins (LHP Johan Santana, 6-4, 2.99) at Pirates (LHP Oliver Perez, 2-8, 6.68), 12:35 p.m. CT

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.