The Twins face the Tigers for the final time this season at 7 PM tonight, with Johan Santana (15-13, 3.29) facing Jair Jurrjens (3-1, 3.90). With the Tigers' easy victory and the Devil Rays' dramatic walk-off win against the Yankees yesterday, the Tigers are still technically alive in the playoff hunt. The Twins once again have the chance to officially extinguish their division rival's playoff chances, so let's hope they get it done today. Last time the Twins faced Jair Jurrjens, on September 16th, he picked up his 3rd win of season by allowing only 3 baserunners while striking out 6 over 5 1/3 innings. Jurrjens retired 16 of the first 17 batters he faced, with just Buscher reaching base in the second on a walk. Finally, the Twins were able to get a couple of hits in a row and force him out of the game in 6th, but overall he pretty much dominated the Twins' lineup.
Today's game will be Santana's final start of the season, and it may also be Joe Mauer's final appearance of the 2007 season. Gardenhire has said that Mauer will not DH and that this is the last game in which he will definitely start behind the plate, so it could very well be his last game of the year. Santana, meanwhile, is hoping to finish the season with a good performance in his final start, as he closes out the worst year of his starting career. However, Santana is still in contention for both the MLB and the AL lead in strikeouts. Right now, he is 2 Ks behind Jake Peavy for the major league lead, and 2 Ks ahead of Scott Kazmir for the AL lead. All 3 of them have one start remaining, with Johan and Peavy starting tonight and Kazmir tomorrow against the Yankees.