Game Preview: Cleveland (74-75) vs. Minnesota (59-91)
By Matt Van Wormer
The Indians will look to sweep the Twins on their home turf and get back to the .500 mark in the process. Last night, the Tribe drubbed Minnesota by banging out 14 hits which resulted in eight runs in the first two innings. It was more than enough as Jeanmar Gomez pitched 6.2 innings and gave up just seven hits and two runs to improve to 4-2 on his short time with the Tribe.
This afternoon, Justin Masterson (11-10, 3.20, 1.25 WHIP) takes his third crack at earning his 12th win against former Tribe pitcher Carl Pavano (8-12, 4.50, 1.40 WHIP). Masterson struggled in his last start, going just five innings and giving up six runs including three Home Runs.
Masterson hasn’t earned a decision in three starts against the Twins this year but he has pitched well. In 23.1 innings, Masterson has given up just four earned runs and 18 hits while striking out 13. Michael Cuddyer has been fairly successful against Masterson in his career, going 9 for 26 with a double and two RBI. Masterson has struck Cuddyer out five times though.
Pavano has won two of his last three starts and is 1-0 in three starts against Cleveland. In his last start against the Indians, Pavano took a No-Decision as he threw 7.1 innings giving up 10 hits but just two runs (one earned). Jim Thome, who is 7 for 26 with a double and a Home Run against Pavano, may need to be the spark plug for an Indians team who has struggled mightily against Pavano.
The Indians have four games left against the Twins after today, including a Day-Night Doubleheader to makeup a rainout from earlier in the season. For the year, the Indians have won seven of the 13 games that the two teams have played against each other and will be going for their fifth straight win against Minnesota.
While the Indians won’t be winning the Central Division, they are still playing for pride and a shot at second place which would be their best finish in the division since 2007 when they came just one win away from going to the World Series. Meanwhile, the Twins are trying to avoid finishing at the bottom of the division for the first time since 2000.
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