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Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals - 8/1/2013

Kansas City (53-51) at Minnesota (45-59)

MLB Baseball: Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm (Target Field)

The Line: Minnesota Twins +112 / Kansas City Royals -122 --- Over/Under: 8.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: None Scheduled

The Minnesota Twins look to cool down the rival Kansas City Royals on Thursday.

If Kansas City is going to be a factor in the American League Central, it might be now or never. The Royals are definitely playing their best baseball of the 2013 campaign, after Wednesday's 4-3 victory at Target Field giving the Royals victories in eight straight contests where the work on the mound and plate has been on the same page. KC received a strong performance on the mound from Jeremy Guthrie, who gave up a pair of runs on six hits and two BB over six innings. The offense made that a winning effort with 13 hits producing two RBI's off the bat of Billy Butler. James Shields will be on the mound when the Royals take the field with Minnesota. Shields is coming in off one of his best efforts of 2013 when he defeated the White Sox 5-1 with an eight hit shut out over seven innings.

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Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals - 8/1/2013

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

I don't think even the most hardened Minnesota fan believes the team has a legitimate chance at winning the American League Central. A more achievable goal would be reaching .500, but that would take a big run going forward and we haven't seen that from this team yet. The arms and bats are capable of doing some damage over short periods, but that won't get it done. Both units came up just short versus KC on Wednesday, with starter Kevin Correia getting out of several jams before allowing two runs on ten hits through six frames and Caleb Thielbar took the loss with two runs plated in 2/3 of an inning. The Twins totaled eleven hits and walked twice, with Pedro Florimon slamming his 7th homer. Minnesota turns to left hander Scott Diamond to slow down the Kansas City bats. Diamond didn't get a decision in a 3-2 victory over Seattle in which he allowed one run on five hits and a walk over 6.2 innings.

The Royals won't keep winnining forever and Shields is not a lock because the team doesn't always play well behind him. However, right or wrong, I'll back the hotter team...

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