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Series preview: Twins host Indians in battle for AL Central lead

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This series could be the difference in the battle for the division.

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Indians
Your tongue is annoying.
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

This could be the most important series the Twins play this year. With a current two game lead over the Indians in the AL Central, this series could either blow the division open, see the Twins fall behind, or something in between. We all know how bad the home record has been, and so far in 2017, the Twins are 2-4 against Cleveland. I’m really nervous about this series.

Last time Cleveland came to town, Kyle Gibson, Phil Hughes, and Tyler Duffey took losses. More recently, on the road, Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios defeated the Indians in close games, while Hector Santiago lost a blowout.

This time around, the Twins will send out Nik Turley to make his second ever MLB appearance on Friday. Obviously, he has never faced any Indian batter. He’ll be pitching against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco. Through Brian Dozier has only hit .190 against Carrasco, he has three home runs off him, which leads any active major league batter. Joe Mauer is 11-for-22 with a home run (!) off Carrasco and Miguel Sano is 4-for-10. Not too shabby.

We’ll see a split doubleheader on Saturday, due to the game on Wednesday, April 19th being postponed. Since this doubleheader has been on the schedule for more than 48 hours, the “26th man” will be available for both games. Adam Wilk will be called up to start one of the games, but no word yet on what the move to add him to the 40-man roster will be. There have been some rumors suggesting the Twins might move Phil Hughes to the 60-day DL.

Cleveland will be calling up Mike Clevinger and Ryan Merritt to start the two games Saturday games.

Adalberto Mejia, pitching the first game Saturday, will be a new experience for the Tribe. Byron Buxton and Robbie Grossman are the only Twins to face Mejia’s (potential) opponent, Ryan Merritt, who will be making his 2017 major league debut. Buxton and Grossman each had one at-bat against Merritt, and neither had a hit.

Through seven relief innings pitched, Adam Wilk has a 3.86 ERA with the Twins. He’ll face (potentially?) sophomore pitcher Mike Clevinger, who has pitched against the Twins a couple times. Both Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano have taken him deep at least once.

Kyle Gibson will face Trevor Bauer on Sunday. Francisco Lindor, unsurprisingly, has been a massive thorn in Kyle Gibson’s side, and most of the Indians have batted extremely well against him.

Overall this season, both teams have very similar batting lines. The Indians have received very good pitching, while we have had to watch what is officially the worst ERA in the American League. At least we aren’t the Phillies.

Pitching Matchup

Game 1: Friday, June 16; 7:10 CT Nik Turley LHP vs Carlos Carrasco RHP

Game 2: Saturday, June 17; 1:10 CT Adalberto Mejia LHP vs Ryan Merritt LHP

Game 3: Saturday, June 17; 7:10 CT Adam Wilk RHP vs Mike Clevinger RHP

Game 4: Sunday, June 18; 7:10 CT Kyle Gibson RHP vs Trevor Bauer RHP

Notes

  • Starters for Saturday games could be flipped for either team.
  • Due to CBA restrictions, teams are only allowed to schedule a few “split doubleheaders,” and assuming both games are played on Saturday, the Twins have used up their allotment, which means any other rain outs will have to be made up on off days or traditional doubleheaders.
  • After this series, the Twins face the Indians nine more times. Seven of our next ten games are against them, then we don’t see them until the middle of August.
  • Tonight is Prince Tribute Night, and it sounds awesome! If you live in the Twin Cities area, and have no other plans, you should look into getting tickets, and rub it in my face that I live far away and can’t go.

Poll

How Many games do you think the Twins take from the Indians this series?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    4
    (21 votes)
  • 15%
    3
    (43 votes)
  • 48%
    2
    (131 votes)
  • 19%
    1
    (52 votes)
  • 8%
    0
    (23 votes)
270 votes total Vote Now