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Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians series preview

Shampoo, rinse repeat. The Tribe lost another divisional series. On the Road. They now return home to face the surprisingly decent Minnestoa Twins over the weekend.

Noted Tribe killer Trevor Plouffe after his walk-off homer in the last series.
Noted Tribe killer Trevor Plouffe after his walk-off homer in the last series.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Tribe have now completed seven series against divisional rivals and are a woeful 6-14. They finish up the opening divisional gauntlet with the only team they haven't played twice, the Minnesota Twins.

  • Friday's game is at 7:10 PM (Pelfrey vs. Bauer)
  • Saturday's game is at 4:10 PM (Hughes vs. Chen)
  • Sunday's game is at 1:10 PM (May vs. Salazar)

The Twins have been on fire lately. They just finished a long homestand by sweeping the White Sox in four games and taking three of four from the A's. After the Twins depart Progressive, the Indians take Monday off before concluding this homestand with a visit from their first 2015 NL foe, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Division Watch: Royals at Tigers, Reds at White Sox.

Team in a Box

Minnesota Twins

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2014 Record

16-13

Runs/Game

4.5

7th

Runs/Game

4.1

6th

AL Central

3rd

OBP

315

5th

H/9

9.2

13th

Last 10

8-2

SLG

377

11th

BB/9

2.6

3rd

Last 30

-

Steals

14

8th

SO/9

5.3

15th

*Stats through Wednesday except for record.

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The Twins took two of three from the Tribe in mid-April which has jump started their season. Since the Cleveland series they are 11-6. The offense has hit double digits thrice in the last eight games, while the pitching staff has settled down a bit. They are still not striking anyone out, but have suppressed enough baserunners to almost make the top third in runs/game allowed.  The defense has been much more porous than last year with 19 errors already.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

wRC+

C

Kurt Suzuki

R

81

208

567

57

1B

Joe Mauer

L

122

287

731

101

2B

Brian Dozier

R

123

243

718

99

3B

Trevor Plouffe

R

114

267

796

124

SS

Danny Santana

S

105

280

654

80

LF

Eduardo Escobar

S

74

225

624

69

CF

Jordan Schafer

L

63

237

562

57

RF

Torii Hunter

R

106

263

706

95

DH

Kennys Vargas

S

86

222

613

70

OF

Shane Robinson

R

54

340

749

115

C

Chris Herrmann

L

28

192

558

54

IF

Doug Bernier

R

1

1000

000

353

IF

Eddie Rosario

L

4

250

1250

241

This offense is scoring runs at a higher rate than they should considering only two guys have a positive wRC+. But in the past week, they have definitely reversed their early season tend. As a team they have a 321/366/502 slash and eight home runs resulting in 41 runs. Vargas, Hunter, Plouffe and Schafer have all been hot, each with an OPS over 1000.

In the previous series it was Plouffe and Suzuki who has the hot sticks. Robinson also did well but in limited playing time. He may get some time in center over Schafer. Schafer and Santana went hitless in the last series and Mauer and Vargas both really struggled as well. Bernier and Rosario replace bOswaldo Arcia and Eduardo Nunez who both landed on the DL recently.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

FIP

IP

WHIP

K/9

Phil Hughes

R

5.02

4.73

37.2

1.33

6.7

Kyle Gibson

R

2.97

4.65

36.1

1.35

2.7

Mike Pelfrey

R

2.63

4.78

27.1

1.24

5.3

Trevor May

R

4.15

6.31

26.0

1.46

6.9

Rickey Nolasco

R

10.13

3.89

8.0

2.38

6.8

Glen Perkins

L

1.50

1.30

12.0

0.75

8.3

Aaron Thompson

L

2.45

4.28

18.1

0.82

4.9

Blaine Boyer

R

3.29

3.87

13.2

1.32

4.0

Brian Duensing

L

4.76

3.67

5.2

1.94

4.8

J.R. Graham

R

1.86

5.10

9.2

1.45

5.6

Ryan Pressly

R

0.00

0.14

4.2

0.43

13.5

Michael Tonkin

R

0.00

3.14

1.0

0.00

0.0

There have been a few changes to the staff. Tommy Milone was optioned out to make room for Nolasco in the rotation. And when both Casey Fien and Tim Stauffer landed on the DL, Pressly and Tonkin got the call ups.

Oddly enough, the Tribe will face the exact same three starters from the previous series. Pelfey took a no decision in the extra inning win by the Twins, giving up just one run in five innings on three hits and four walks. He pitched very well against the Royals, well against the Tigers, but struggled against the White Sox. Hughes took the lone loss, giving up four runs in 6.2 innings. He pitched well but lost to the Mariners and not so well against the Tigers and A's. May stifled the Tribe in his win, one run in six innings on just four hits and no walks. He hasn't gotten past the sixth inning since.

The bullpen was great in the first series, with Boyer and Thompson the stars. Overall in 11.1 innings they gave up just two runs on eight hits, walked three and struck out 11. This from a team that strikes out the fewest batters in the league.

On the Shelf

  • LF Oswaldo Arcia [15 day DL], no timetable for return
  • UT Eduardo Nunez [15 day DL], no timetable for return
  • RP Casey Fien [15 day DL], possible May return
  • RP Tim Stauffer [15 day DL], possible May return
  • SP Ervin Santana [restricted list], suspended for first 80 games (early July)

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2015

1

2

333

8

12

323

2014

11

8

579

90

63

658

Last 5*

47

45

511

402

403

499

Last 10*

95

89

516

793

780

508

All-Time

1111

971

534

9578

8927

532

*Does not include 2015 stats

Prediction: As I am sure most of you have noticed, there isn't a lefty in the opposing rotation for this series. But, each of three starters did very well last go-round. And, their bullpen features three lefties. Unless the Tribe makes their starters pay (especially with Chen making his debut), I foresee another series loss.