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Ponson faces Schilling in finale

Ponson set to take on Schilling in finale

Resting players during day games is something that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire likes to do early in the season, so as not to wear his starters out too soon. And that is especially true when the day game comes before an off-day, providing an extended break.

Unfortunately, Gardenhire hasn't quite had the arsenal to be able to do that yet this season. With the injuries continuing to pile up, the Twins skipper has been limited in what he can do with the lineup. That is the case again in Sunday's series finale with the Red Sox.

"I don't have many luxuries to give too many guys days off," Gardenhire said before Saturday's 2-1 victory over Boston. "We're going to try to win a series, but right now there are just not many options to put in there. You just have to play with what you've got."

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What the Twins have is a lineup that will be without right fielder Michael Cuddyer, who is nursing a sore back and is expected to return on Tuesday. They will also likely be missing the reigning batting champion, Joe Mauer, who has been dealing with a sore left quad muscle.

Limited in offensive options, the team will have to rely on Sidney Ponson to continue his improvement on the mound. In Ponson's last start, he held the Devil Rays to just one run over seven innings. Ponson will have to be stingy, as the Twins' offense should have its hands full with Red Sox ace Curt Schilling, who holds a 0.77 career ERA at the Metrodome in four appearances.

Pitching matchup
MIN: RHP Sidney Ponson (2-3, 6.67)
On Tuesday, Minnesota finally got what it had sought from Ponson since his solid Spring Training. The right-hander gave up a single run over seven innings of work, his longest outing of the year. He was aggressive early and often against Tampa Bay, something he'd lacked in his four prior starts. As a result, Ponson fanned five and walked just two, using 90 pitches in his second win, and lowering his ERA nearly two full runs, down from 8.44. He's 3-10 in 19 career starts against Boston, and totes a hefty 6.69 ERA.

BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (3-1, 3.15)
Seemingly unaffected in his first start after the tiff over his 2004 American League Championship Series bloody sock, Curt Schilling turned in another workmanlike gem against Oakland. He allowed two runs on eight hits over seven innings, walking none and striking out seven, but did not get the win because of Jonathan Papelbon's first blown save. Since his subpar Opening Day outing in Kansas City, Schilling is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA over five starts.

Player to watch
The uncertain status of Joe Mauer might be enough to keep Jeff Cirillo in the lineup for a second straight day in the DH slot. Cirillo is a career .324 hitter against Schilling (11-for-34 with three doubles and three RBIs).

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• WFTC Ch. 29

On radio
• 1500 KSTP

Up next
• Monday : Off-day
• Tuesday: White Sox (RHP Javier Vazquez, 2-1, 4.02) at Twins (RHP Boof Bonser, 0-1, 4.55), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: White Sox (LHP John Danks, 0-4, 5.02) at Twins (RHP Ramon Ortiz, 3-2, 3.23), 7:10 p.m. CT

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

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