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Series Preview: Puerto Rico games have Twins “hosting” Cleveland

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Both teams are fleeing the weather, and celebrating a major part of baseball’s heritage

Minnesota Twins v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

After an unexpected three day mini-vacation for the Twins, their “homestand” continues on the road. The local nine will be relocating from snowy Minneapolis to tropical San Juan, Puerto Rico to host the Cleveland squad for a two game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium — a stadium, which notably, does not have a roof.

The Twins come into this series at 8-4, and also having not lost a series. Cleveland, meanwhile has an 8-6 record. They too did not play this weekend due to weather. They lost their first two series this season to the Mariners and Angels before ripping off five wins in seven games, mostly against divisional foes. As it stands, the Twins currently hold first place in the division by half a game, so these two games in Puerto Rico are important to the early leader board.

It is probably very little surprise, but Cleveland’s pitching has been leading their team. In fact, they have only hit .200/.281/.326 overall. Most of their regulars have started off colder than the weather, with part-timers Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Tyler Naquin leading the way. Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion share the dong lead, each having hit three home runs. As usual, the starting pitching is Cleveland’s strength. Their entire staff has a combined ERA of 3.13, and the only starter with a number above that mark is Carlos Carrasco, at a whopping 3.48, but with a minuscule 0.87 WHIP.

Thanks to the weather recently, the Twins have a well rested pitching staff, and have rearranged the order for Jake Odorizzi to start the first game of this series. His career numbers against Cleveland aren’t too bad, at .234/.280/.403. In 77 total at-bats, he has given up two home runs, both to Edwin Encarnacion. Corey Kluber takes the mound for Cleveland in this game. He has spent the last seven years embarrassing the Twins, with only Joe Mauer having a batting average higher than .200 against him. Mauer and Brian Dozier have each hit two home runs, and Max Kepler has one as well.

The second game will be started by Puerto Rican native Jose Berrios. He has been fantastic against the visiting line-up thus far, holding them to .182/.237/.236, a total of 13 hits and six earned runs in 55 at bats. Opposing Berrios will be Carlos Carrasco. The Twins have hit much better as a group against him than against Kluber. They are buoyed by Joe Mauer’s .444/.483/.704 performance. Brian Dozier has three dongs to his credit against Carrasco.

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Tuesday, April 17th; 6:10 pm CT — Jake Odorizzi RHP vs. Corey Kluber RHP

Game 2: Wednesday, April 18th; 6:00 pm CT — Jose Berrios RHP vs. Carlos Carrasco RHP

Notes:

  • These games are a big deal for the MLB and, the first pitch and singing line-up, and community events around the game reflect it. Here is the full run down, if you are curious.
  • Among the Puerto Ricans playing in this series will be Twins Jose Berrios and Eddie Rosario, and Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor and Roberto Perez.
  • Both games will be National TV games, with Tuesday’s broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and Wednesday’s on ESPN.
  • The Twins optioned Ryan LaMarre to Rochester earlier in the week, and called up Alan Busenitz on Sunday.
  • Both teams are allowed to carry a 26th player on the roster, since this game is outside of the continental US. According to Darren “Doogie” Wolfson, the Twins will take advantage of this to re-add LaMarre to the roster.

Poll

How many games do the Twins win against Cleveland in Puerto Rico

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    2
    (105 votes)
  • 39%
    1
    (80 votes)
  • 7%
    0
    (16 votes)
201 votes total Vote Now