Tribe and Twins Set to Play Two from San Juan
Bob Toth | On 17, Apr 2018
The Cleveland Indians will face a familiar foe this week when they battle the Minnesota Twins in a pair of midweek games. The location, however, will be anything but the norm for the two clubs.
Baseball heads abroad and returns to Estadio Hiram Bithorn in San Juan, Puerto Rico, this week for the first time since June 28-30, 2010, when the Florida Marlins (and Puerto Rican interim manager Edwin Rodriguez) faced the New York Mets. San Juan has hosted 47 games in its history, with the bulk of the activity coming in 2003 and 2004 when the Montreal Expos spent a portion of the two seasons playing on the island.
For the Indians (8-6), they have a long history with Puerto Rico, as some of the island’s better players have suited up over the years for the club, including current members of the team Francisco Lindor and Roberto Perez and past players, Carlos Baerga, Juan Gonzalez, Vic Power, and the Alomar brothers Roberto and Sandy, just to name a few. The Indians have had a long layoff, as they last played on Friday night in a disappointing 8-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays after allowing eight unanswered runs in the ball game. That loss has sat and stewed for several extra days, as contests with the Jays on Saturday and Sunday were both postponed by heavy rains before Monday’s off day.
It has also been quite some time since the Minnesota Twins (7-4) took the field. They last played on Thursday, when they started what was scheduled to be a four-game series at Target Field with the Chicago White Sox. After getting a three-hit shutout in the series opener, the next three dates were lost to snow and inclement weather in the Twin Cities. They will continue their nine-game homestand with a 3-1 record (after shocking the world champion Houston Astros twice in the middle of the week) and they will serve as the home team for the two-game set from San Juan. Minnesota has played the fewest number of games in all of baseball at just eleven.
Today’s batch of Indians trivia will be tied to Minnesota and Puerto Rico. Answers to Today’s Tribe Trivia can be found at the end of Tuesday night’s game recap.
I was born in the same city as the stadium in San Juan’s namesake, Hiram Bithorn. I was the last Indians player to record back-to-back 200-hit seasons for the Tribe. I started my career as a third baseman before becoming an All-Star second baseman. Who am I?
A native of St. Paul, I pitched a ten-inning complete game in Game 7 of the World Series while playing for my hometown Twins in my only season in Minnesota. I was named the World Series’ Most Valuable Player that year and would win another ring (my third) the next season. I played my final big league season in Cleveland in the twilight of my career. Who am I?
A veteran of 22 big league seasons, it all began in the Twin Cities. I went to high school in St. Paul and college in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota, where I was a multi-sport star drafted on more than one occasion. I was the fourth overall pick in 1973 and skipped the minors entirely, never once playing a game at that level. I’m a 12-time All-Star, a seven-time Gold Glove winner, a six-time Silver Slugger, and I won a World Series with the above player in 1992. I returned home to Minnesota in 1993, spending two seasons with the Twins before concluding my Hall of Fame career with a season in Cleveland. Who am I?
PITCHING PROBABLES and NOTES
Kluber will finally find his way back to the mound after being scratched from starts on both Saturday and Sunday due to rainouts at Progressive Field. His last time out, he continued his strong start to the 2018 campaign, working eight scoreless innings of two-hit baseball while striking out a season-high 13. He has struck out 27 batters in 23 innings of work on the year already. The right-hander, who turned 32 a week ago, faced the Twins just once a season ago and took a no-decision, allowing a pair of unearned runs in seven innings of work. He had won two games a season in each of the previous four years against the Twins and owns a lifetime mark of 8-5 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in 19 starts.
Odorizzi makes his first start against the Indians as a member of the Twins after his offseason trade to Minnesota by the Tampa Bay Rays. The 28-year-old right-hander won his first start of the season his last time out a week ago, firing six innings of one-run baseball against the Houston Astros despite walking five. He began the season with six shutout innings against Baltimore, but allowing three runs in just four and one-third innings in his second start against Pittsburgh. He is coming off of back-to-back ten win seasons for the Rays. He earned his first career win against the Indians last season, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings of work. It will be his fifth start against Cleveland in his career.
The Indians rotation has been shuffled up slightly with the consecutive rainouts over the weekend and the off day on Monday. While Kluber will finally make his start, Carrasco will move back into the spot behind him in the rotation after being temporarily moved back in favor of Josh Tomlin a week ago. Carrasco has won all three of his starts to begin the season, but his most recent outing was his best by far. He threw a complete game against the Detroit Tigers, allowing just a run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He handled the Twins with ease last year for the first time in his career – he went 3-0 in three starts and allowed just two runs on 15 hits with 30 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings of work (0.92 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP).
It has been the series that Berrios has waited his whole life for, as the second-youngest active Puerto Rican player in the Major Leagues will get to pitch in his native commonwealth for the first time. The 23-year-old right-hander out of Bayamon was a first round pick by the Twins in the 2012 draft and debuted in a loss against the Indians in 2016. It will be his fifth start against the Indians in his career – he is 2-2 with a 5.31 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 20 1/3 innings of work. He started his season with a three-hit shutout over the Baltimore Orioles, but allowed five runs on six hits in four and two-thirds innings his next time out against Seattle. His last time, he was sharp again, throwing seven scoreless innings of three-hit baseball while striking out eleven of the 24 batters that he faced in the win.
TV: Fox Sports 1 (4/17); ESPN (4/18)
Radio (all): Cleveland Indians Radio Network (CLE); WCCO 830, Treasure Island Baseball Network, La Raza (Minneapolis)
TRANSACTIONS and INJURY NOTES
Greg Allen (OF) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (4/17)
Cody Anderson (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/25) – recovery from April 2017 UCL surgery
Lonnie Chisenhall (RF) – 10-day disabled list (4/8) – right calf strain
Ryan Merritt (P) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – left knee sprain
Danny Salazar (P) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – right shoulder rotator cuff tendonitis
Giovanny Urshela (UTL) – 10-day disabled list (3/26) – right hamstring strain (on rehab assignment)
Phil Hughes (P) – 10-day disabled list (3/29) – left oblique strain (on rehab assignment)
Ryan LaMarre (OF) – recalled from Triple-A Rochester (4/16)
Trevor May (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/17) – recovery from March 2017 UCL surgery
Michael Pineda (P) – 60-day disabled list (2/17) – recovery from July 2017 UCL surgery
Ervin Santana (SP) – 10-day disabled list (3/29) – recovery from February 2018 right middle finger surgery
TWINS TO WATCH
The trip to Puerto Rico is a homecoming for not only Berrios, but for young outfielder Eddie Rosario. The left-handed-hitting 26-year-old was born in Guayama and graduated from a high school there before being selected by the Twins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. Despite a .211 batting average and .268 on-base percentage coming into the game, he has reached base safely in eight of the ten games that he has had a plate appearance in. His nine home runs against Cleveland are the most that he has hit against any opponent and he owns a lifetime .335/.357/.568 slash against the Indians through his first three seasons.
Brian Dozier is in the final year of his contract with the Twins and is off to another good start to the season. The 30-year-old second baseman, who will get some interest in the free agent market, has already put up a pair of doubles and a team-leading four home runs through his first eleven games. He is second on the club with six RBI, is tied for the team lead with seven walks, and has put up a healthy .289/.385/.600 slash at the plate. His 20 career homers against the Tribe are tied for the most that he has hit against any one club (he has also equaled that output against the Chicago White Sox and Detroit). He has hit just .140 against Kluber in his career with a double, two homers, and four RBI while striking out 13 times. He is a .192 hitter against Carrasco with three homers and seven RBI.
Max Kepler, who always seems to strike through against the Indians, has flashed some power in the Twins brief activity on the field. He has two doubles and has homered three times while driving in five runs. Eight of his 39 career homers have come off of Tribe pitching.
Miguel Sano is healthy and back to mashing baseballs. He leads the club with eight RBI through his first ten games and has added four doubles and three home runs. He has seen the ball well overall against Carrasco, hitting .357 with a .438 OBP with a double and two RBI, but he has not had much luck with Kluber, hitting .063 with nine strikeouts in 19 plate appearances. His one hit off of Kluber was a double.
The Indians offense woke up a bit as the week progressed. Better, more appropriate weather for baseball was in the forecast and the bats provided some punch.
Michael Brantley is the team’s leading hitter at .286 through six games. In his brief body of work, he has already driven in four runs.
Roberto Perez made the most out of his playing time last week. In a pair of games, he was 3-for-6 with a walk, a go-ahead homer, and two runs scored. He is expected to get the start on Wednesday in his return home.
The battle between Lindor and Berrios will undoubtedly be one that the fans of San Juan get loud for. The Indians shortstop is a lifetime .333 hitter against him with two singles, a double, a walk, and two RBI. Berrios has yet to strike him out in ten plate appearances.
Jose Ramirez is 3-for-10 against Berrios with three singles and an RBI.
Going back to his days with the Toronto Blue Jays, Edwin Encarnacion has seen Odorizzi more than most of the rest of his teammates combined. He has just five hits in 33 plate appearances (.167 average), but of those hits, one was for two bases and two others cleared the wall for home runs.
Bradley Zimmer has battled with the strikeout for much of the season already, but over the last week, it looked as though he was getting a bit more comfortable at the plate. Since last Tuesday, he has hit .417 (5-for-12) with five singles and just two strikeouts. On the year, he is tied for the team lead in strikeouts with 16.
The Indians will take Thursday off for travel before heading to Baltimore for four with the. The club will return home to Progressive Field for their second long homestand of the month when they face the Chicago Cubs (two games), the Seattle Mariners (four games) and the Texas Rangers (three games), and the Toronto Blue Jays (doubleheader on May 3) to wrap up the homestand. The Twins will hit the road, formally, after an off day on Thursday. They will play Tampa Bay for three over the weekend before taking on the Yankees in New York for four games beginning Monday night.
Photo: Greg Fiume/Getty Images