Game 63: Can Minnesota cure a sickness?

Kyle Kendrick starts for the Phillies Tuesday against the Twins. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

MINNEAPOLIS — The Phillies are 8.5 games out of first place, the furthest they've been since June 2, 2007. Following a day off, nearly the entire group of position players took to Target Field for early batting practice Tuesday. Perhaps a visit here is the cure for their recent malaise.

To start, they will face righthander Nick Blackburn, whose 7.75 ERA is the highest for any pitcher in baseball with at least eight starts. The Twins are in last place with a minus-67 run differential. That is worst in the American League.

If there was a time to start making hay, this series is a prime opportunity.

Charlie Manuel's lineup for Tuesday looks like this:

1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Juan Pierre 7
3. Hunter Pence 9
4. Jim Thome 0
5. Shane Victorino 8
6. Ty Wigginton 3
7. Carlos Ruiz 2
8. Mike Fontenot 5
9. Michael Martinez 4

Kyle Kendrick starts for the Phillies. The last time the Phillies played in this city, Paul Abbott started. Hey, it could always be worse.

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