First Pitch: 7:10pm CDT
TV: FSN North
Radio: Twins Radio Network
Know Thine Enemy: Let's Go Tribe!
After winning two out of three games against both the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals out of the gate, the Minnesota Twins welcome their third AL Central division rival to Target Field for a three game set. The Cleveland Indians sit at .500 (6-6), 2.5 games back of the Twins, but are riding a four game winning streak that includes a three game sweep of the Chicago White Sox last weekend in Cleveland. In 12 games, the Indians have scored 45 runs and allowed 50 runs. Offensively, right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (.350/.500/.725) is white hot, but he's the only Indians regular with an OPS above 800. As a team, the Indians have gotten off to a slow start with the bats, hitting .219/.313/.343. Grady Sizemore (728 OPS), Travis Hafner (674 OPS), Asdrubal Cabrera (674 OPS) and Jhonny Peralta (553 OPS) have not gotten on track, but their career numbers suggest a hot streak will come at some point. Hopefully not this week in Minnesota.
On the mound, the Indians have pitched surprisingly well (3.68 ERA), but their peripherals indicate that a correction may be coming. Teams simply don't continue giving up mid-three runs per game with a 64 SO/ 55 BB ratio in 107.2 innings. I suspect the Cleveland pitching numbers are helped as much by six games against the White Sox as anything.
Pitchers and lineups after the jump:
#59 / Pitcher / Minnesota Twins
May 04, 1984
|2010 - Kevin Slowey||1-1||2||2||0||0||0||0||10.1||12||4||4||1||6||8||3.48||1.74|
Kevin Slowey has uncharacteristically had control problems so far, giving up 6 walks in 10.1 innings, including four walks last week against the Boston Red Sox. Given Slowey's track record, I expect this is just early season rust and we'll see the walks reduced as he gets more comfortable. In six career starts against the Indians, Slowey is 3-2 with a 4.06 ERA.
#63 / Pitcher / Cleveland Indians
Mar 22, 1985
|2010 - Justin Masterson||0-1||2||2||0||0||0||0||11.0||13||5||3||1||2||14||2.45||1.36|
Of all the Indians pitchers, Justin Masterson is the one with peripherals (14 SO / 2 BB, 1 HR in 11.0 IP) that suggest he could continue posting solid numbers this season. Acquired from the Boston Red Sox as part of the Victor Martinez trade last year, Masterson is a tall right hander with a 3/4 - sidearm style delivery and a wicked slider that has given right handed hitters fits over his career (.200/.280/.300 RH vs .291/.386/.452 LH). Expect the Twins to load the lineup with lefties, probably sit Delmon Young in favor of Jim Thome and Nick Punto at third if he's able to go.
Cleveland Indians @ Minnesota Twins
04/20/10 8:10 PM EDT
|Cleveland Indians||Minnesota Twins|
|Asdrubal Cabrera - SS||Denard Span - CF|
|Grady Sizemore - CF||Orlando Hudson - 2B|
|Shin-Soo Choo - RF||Joe Mauer - C|
|Travis Hafner - DH||Justin Morneau - 1B|
|Jhonny Peralta - 3B||Michael Cuddyer - RF|
|Russell Branyan - 1B||Jason Kubel - DH|
|Austin Kearns - LF||Delmon Young - LF|
|Luis Valbuena - 2B||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Lou Marson - C||Brendan Harris - 3B|
In other news...
- Nick Blackburn's next start has been pushed to Saturday to allow him an extra day of rest for his right elbow.
- Joe C. believes Nick Punto should be ready to go today against the Indians. He's sat the last few games with a sore groin.
- Pat Neshek (strained tendon in his middle finger) feels better, but he still has not yet thrown in the bullpen. We could be an arm short tonight, but with yesterday's day off the bullpen should be fresh.
- Russell Branyan is expected to return to the Indians lineup today, as Michael Brantley has been optioned to AAA. This is bad news for Slowey, as Branyan has hit two home runs and two doubles in 12 at bats against him.