Game #101: Cleveland Indians (50-50) at Minnesota Twins (41-58)
By Mike Brandyberry
Last night Josh Tomlin started poorly and only got worse. Tomlin and the Tribe allowed three, first inning runs from a Justin Morneau home run and the Twins never looked back, throttling the Indians, 11-0. It was an especially disappointing loss for the Indians, considering it followed what could have been their biggest win of the season. Any momentum built in Thrusday’s come from behind victory over the Detroit Tigers was quickly squelched Friday night.
Cleveland enters Saturday’s action four and one-half games behind the American League Central Division leading Chicago White Sox. They find themselves the same distance from the final wild card spot, but four teams sit between them and the final spot. If the Indians are to make a serious postseason push, they need to take care of the Twins in the next two games and also next week in Kansas City. The two teams are the bottom dwellers of the league and division. The Tribe cannot afford their continued mediocrity.
Staff ace and leader Justin Masterson (7-8, 4.12 ERA) will take the mound in the hopes of getting the Tribe back on track. Masterson has pitched very well since April 27 of this season, including throwing seven and one-third innings and only allowing one run on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles. Masterson earned the win in the Tribe’s 3-1 victory. He’s 1-0, with a 0.66 ERA in his last two starts at Target Field.
Minnesota will counter with Samuel Deduno (1-0, 3.94), who is trying to build upon his first major league victory. Deduno pitched into the seventh inning last Sunday against the Royals, only allowing one earned run. The Twins are the third organization he has pitched in, in as many years. He has never pitched against the Cleveland Indians, something that gives the Tribe fits at times.
The Indians announced Thursday evening that Rafael Perez will be shut down for four to five days, then reevaluated. After his last rehabilitation appearance, Perez experiences shoulder soreness. An MRI did not reveal any structural damage. Perez has been on the disabled list since April 26 with shoulder issues. The setback will at least delay his return to the team.
Tonight’s game action will begin at 7:05 pm et from Minneapolis. The game can be heard on WTAM-1100 and the Indians Radio Network or viewed on SportsTime Ohio.
Cleveland Indians Starting Lineup
1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
2. Michael Brantley, CF
3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Johnny Damon, LF
7. Casey Kotchman, 1B
8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
9. Brent Lillibridge, SS
Minnesota Twins Starting Lineup
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images