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Series Preview: Minnesota (July 27-29)

Trevor Plouffe
Trevor Plouffe

The Indians kept themselves within striking distance with last night's win, but they still have quite a bit of ground to make up. They'll be going on the road now, but for the first two series they'll be facing two of the few AL teams under .500

Team in a Box (click to enlarge)


The Twins have really turned their offense around, hitting .278/.332/.423 in June and .280/.341/.341/.419 in July. But their big problem is still the pitching staff, which ranks last in the AL in several key categories. The staff as a whole is allowing an amazing 10 hits/9 inning and strike out the fewest batters in the league, a bad combination.

Typical Lineup

Pos. Player BA OBP SLG PA
CF Denard Span .285 .348 .392 402
RF Ben Revere .309 .346 .363 284
C Joe Mauer .328 .420 .452 389
LF Josh Willingham .271 .384 .563 404
1B Justin Morneau .253 .314 .437 322
3B Trevor Plouffe .259 .330 .525 288
DH Ryan Doumit .287 .339 .470 313
SS Brian Dozier .236 .268 .326 275
2B Jamey Carroll .236 .320 .281 357

The first thing that jumps out is how well Trevor Plouffe has been hitting; it's taken him a couple years, but it looks like he's finally delivering in the promise that got him drafted in the first round of the 2004 draft. Josh Willingham is having an impressive season, especially considering his home park. What might have been had the Indians signed him last winter?

The middle infield continues to be an offensive black hole. Brian Dozier has been the everyday shortstop since early May, but he's not hitting at all, and neither Jamey Carroll nor Alexi Casilla has been any better at second.

Probable Starters

Date Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
July 27 Scott Diamond (L) 3.16 91.0 4.9 1.5 9.9
July 28 Sam Deduno 3.94 16.0 6.8 6.2 10.1
July 29 Francisco Liriano (L) 5.31 100.0 9.8 5.0 8.0

Diamond has been Minnesota's best starter, but has been doing it with only a 4.9 strikeout rate. The Indians haven't seen Deduno before; he signed with the organization as a minor-league free agent before the season. Liriano has been mentioned as a potential trade target for some teams as he's a free agent at the end of the season, but his last start (2.2 IP, 7 ER) can't have helped his value.

Key Relievers

Throws Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
Left Glen Perkins 3.09 43.2 10.5 2.7 9.5
Right Alex Burnett 3.02 47.2 3.8 3.4 7.6
Right Jared Burton 2.29 39.1 8.2 2.3 6.4

Matt Capps is on the DL with shoulder problems, so Glen Perkins has taken over as closer. Jared Burton, who signed with the Twins on a minor-league deal, is having a nice season.

On the Shelf

  • RHP Scott Baker (elbow surgery) - out for 2012 season
  • RHP Matt Capps (shoulder) - 15-day DL
  • 2B Alexi Casilla (lightheadedness) - day-to-day
  • RHP Carl Pavano (shoulder) - 15-day DL
  • SS/3B Trevor Plouffe (thumb) - day-to-day
  • RHP Anthony Swarzak (shoulder) - 15-day DL
  • RHP T.J. Walters (shoulder) - 15-day DL

The Indians might have been able to get something for Capps, but the shoulder injury stopped any possibility of a July trade. Plouffe should be in the lineup tonight.

talonk's Almanac

Record since 2001 106-103 (.507)
Runs Scored/Allowed 943 932
Pythagorean Win % .505
Best Season 14-4 2007
Worst Season 6-12 2010