Game #51: Minnesota Twins (18-32) at Cleveland Indians (27-23)
By Mike Brandyberry
Birthdays are usually good days to celebrate and reflect on accomplishments of the last year. The Indians are hoping Derek Lowe has a very happy birthday this evening.
Lowe (6-3, 3.25 ERA), who turns 39 today, will take the mound this evening trying to snap the Indians current losing skid and rebound from his worst outing of the season. The Tribe has lost five of their last six games, while Lowe was thumped last Saturday against the Chicago White Sox. Lowe allowed eight runs on 10 hits in only two and one-third innings.
Despite his poor start last week Lowe has become the leader of the starting rotation for the Tribe this season. His ability to induce ground balls keeps opponents from normally putting together big innings and always leaves the double play ball as a possibility. The last time Lowe faced the Twins on May 15, he threw a complete game shutout, allowing only six hits in a 5-0 victory for the Tribe.
His rebound this season has been a pleasant surprise for the Indians and accomplishment after Lowe had his worst season of his career in 2011, going 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA. Lowe reflected upon his struggles last year and has worked to alleviate his mechanical flaws, a good accomplishment for a seasoned veteran.
Meanwhile another veteran pitcher, looking for a reclamation, takes the mound for the Twins in Carl Pavano (2-4, 5.46 ERA). Pavano makes his 11th start against Cleveland since he was traded by the Tribe in July 2009. In his last start against the Tribe on May 14, he allowed four runs over six innings and suffered the loss in 5-4 defeat to the Indians. Last Saturday the Detroit Tigers banged him around for six runs in four and one-third innings.
Since starting lineups have already been posted, it appears no roster moves will be made by either team. Some believed the Indians may consider activating another bat to help replace the loss of Travis Hafner, who was placed on the disabled list Wednesday and had his right knee scoped Thursday morning. Hafner is expected to miss four to six weeks and is hopeful to return after the All-Star break.
The Indians have won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Twins and need to snap their losing ways of the last week. Yesterday’s off day gave the team time to heal and rebound, but a one and a half game deficit to the White Sox in the American League Central Division still stares them in the face.
All the game action begins at 7:05 at Progressive Field. The game can be heard on the Indians Radio Network and seen on television on SportsTime Ohio.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4. Jose Lopez, DH
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
7. Johnny Damon, LF
8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
9. Lou Marson, C
Minnesota Twins Starting Lineup
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Brian Dozier, SS
8. Alexi Casilla, 2B
9. Jamey Carroll, SS
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images