Indians Take Three-Game Win Streak to Target Field for Three With Twins
Bob Toth | On 25, Apr 2016
It was almost a perfect weekend for the Indians and the city of Cleveland in general, but now many of the thoughts are on the status of starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco and the severity of the leg injury he sustained in the 6-3 win by the Indians over the Detroit Tigers to wrap up a three-game sweep in the first stop of a three-city road trip by the Tribe.
As Carrasco returned to Cleveland for testing, his teammates packed up and headed to Minneapolis, where they will continue their road trip with three games against the scuffling Twins on Monday night.
The Indians (9-7) have been an up and down team so far to start the year, but many observers were just hoping that the team could escape the month of April, one lacking starting outfielders Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall for several weeks, with a .500 record. With five games left to play in the month and all coming against teams not faring well in the early goings in 2016, the odds are looking increasingly in the Indians’ favor. They made that a reality by sweeping the Tigers for the first time since 2013 and for the first time in Detroit since 2008 this weekend, taking a 2-1 final on Friday, a 10-1 decision on Saturday, and the series clincher on Sunday by a 6-3 score.
Life in the Twin Cities for baseball fans has not been favorable to start the season. The Twins (5-14) had recovered from a disastrous nine-game losing streak to start the season (against the Orioles, Royals, and White Sox) by rebounding in a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in three straight at Target Field. They then split a four-game series, a home-and-home variety, with the Milwaukee Brewers before taking their show to the nation’s capital.
That trip ended poorly, as the club was outscored 16-9 and was swept in three straight.
PITCHING PROBABLES and GAME NOTES
Monday, 4/25, 8:10 PM ET – RHP Danny Salazar (2-1, 1.47 ERA) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (0-1, 5.87)
Tuesday, 4/26, 8:10 PM ET – RHP Cody Anderson (0-1, 7.53) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (1-0, 2.66)
Wednesday, 4/27, 8:10 PM ET – RHP Josh Tomlin (2-0, 1.54) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (0-3, 6.10)
TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio; Fox Sports North
Radio – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; Go 96.3 and Treasure Island Baseball Network (Twins broadcasts)
The history between the Twins and Tribe dates all the way back to 1901, when Cleveland entered the league and the Twins were in their original home in Washington as the Senators. The Twins franchise is just 981-1,117 against Cleveland in 2,108 games. They are 545-502 at home.
Since their relocation to the Twin Cities for the 1961 season, the series between the two clubs has been much more evenly matched. The Twins are 387-408 in those games, including a 213-185 record at home.
Powered by a strong season last year, the Twins took the season series from the Indians, 12 games to seven. Despite this, they were outscored by Cleveland, 89-81. They were 6-3 at Target Field against the Indians last year.
Michael Brantley (LF) – activated from the 15-day disabled list (April 24)
Carlos Carrasco (SP) – 15-day disabled list (April 24) – moderate left hamstring strain
Tommy Hunter (RP) – 15-day disabled list (April 4) – recovery from offseason core muscle surgery; on rehab assignment with Columbus
Byron Buxton (CF) – optioned to Triple-A Rochester (April 25)
Tyler Duffey (SP) – recalled from Triple-A Rochester (April 24); day-to-day after being struck in right arm by a line drive on April 24
Max Kepler (OF) – optioned to Triple-A Rochester (April 25)
Alex Meyer (P) – recalled from Triple-A Rochester (April 25)
Glen Perkins (CL) – 15-day disabled list (April 11) – left posterior shoulder strain
Trevor Plouffe (3B) – 15-day disabled list (April 18) – right intercostal strain
Jorge Polanco (SS) – optioned to Triple-A Rochester (April 24)
Danny Santana (IF/OF) – activated from 15-day disabled list (April 25)
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
The most notable of the offseason additions by the Twins was the signing of South Korean star, Byung-Ho Park, on December 1. A 29-year-old right-hander hitter with some serious pop in his bat, he has been slow to start in his first games as a Major Leaguer, but has hit four homers and driven in five runs. In his first 13 big league games, the first baseman and designated hitter is hitting .233. He was limited to just one plate appearance during the Twins’ interleague series in Washington against the Nationals.
…AND OLD FACES
Eduardo Nunez is off to a blistering start despite irregular playing time in the Twins lineup. He is hitting .432, has driven in eight runs, and has stolen four bases. He was 5-for-12 in the series against Washington, including a four-hit game in the 16-inning marathon on Sunday night.
Joe Mauer is hitting .328 through his first 19 games with three doubles, a triple, and one home run. He has drawn 15 walks, pushing his on-base percentage to .452.
Miguel Sano has also shown an eye for the free pass at the plate, drawing 13 walks, but has also struck out 29 times on the year in 19 games. He is hitting .239 with a .363 OBP and is second on the club with three homers and seven RBI.
CUE THE K’S
As a team, the Twins have struck out 183 times on the year, trailing just the 186 by the Toronto Blue Jays for the most in all of baseball. The Indians, by comparison, have struck out 140 times, 19th out of 30 teams.
Minnesota has drawn 66 walks on the year, second again to Toronto (72) for most in the American League.
The Indians pitching staff is near the top of the leaderboard in the AL in several pitching stats. They have allowed opposing batters to hit .218 against them and have compiled a 1.13 WHIP, both good for the second-best results in the AL. Strangely, the staff has been supported by the fewest double play balls in all of baseball, six (tied with Cincinnati and Philadelphia), despite infield defense that is much better than in year’s past.
Francisco Lindor is hitting .409 with a .519 on-base percentage over the last week. In six games, he has nine hits in 22 at bats and has drawn five walks. It has led to a team-high five runs scored in that span. He is hitting .323 on the year.
Rajai Davis got some rest from full games of action, but still logged six total appearances on the diamond for the Tribe. At the plate, he hit .417 with two doubles, a homer, and six RBI, including a key three-run homer against Seattle earlier in the week.
Tyler Naquin, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Sunday, has a five-game hitting streak and is hitting .303 for the season.
DON’T RUN ON YANBERTO
The Indians catching tandem of Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez, aided by the pitching staff’s ability to hold runners, has allowed the fewest stolen bases in baseball with just three in six attempts. Their caught stealing results of 50% are tied for the best mark in the AL with Texas.
Cleveland will conclude their longest road trip of the early season after a day off on Thursday. They will start a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday before returning home for six straight next Tuesday. Minnesota will also take Thursday off before beginning a three-game series at home with the Detroit Tigers.
Photo: AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt