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The Cleveland Indians take on the Twins with the faintest postseason hopes still alive

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With another divisional series in the books, the Tribe now sits 4.5 games back of the second Wild Card with just thirteen games left on the schedule. Next up are the Minnesota Twins who are just a game and a half in front in the division.

Potential rookie of the year Miguel Sano promises to be a Tribe thorn for many seasons.
Potential rookie of the year Miguel Sano promises to be a Tribe thorn for many seasons.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Tribe has made a marginal dent in their poor divisional record the past couple of weeks, winning or splitting each of the series. Next on the docket are the Minnesota Twins.

  • Tuesday 8:10 PM: Danny Salazar (R) vs. Ervin Santana (R)
  • Wednesday 8:10 PM: Corey Kluber (R) vs. Phil Hughes (R)
  • Thursday 8:10 PM: Cody Anderson (R) vs. Kyle Gibson (R)

The Upcoming Schedule: This final road trip finishes off in Kansas City with the Royals. Then, the Tribe comes home for the final week of the season with these Twins and Red Sox.

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Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is running a $1,000,000 fantasy football league for week 1. It's $5 to enter and first place wins $100,000. Click here to join.

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Playoff Watch: Mariners at Royals, Yankees at Blue Jays, Rangers at A's, Angels at Astros, Orioles at Nationals, Rays at Red Sox.

Team in a Box

Minnesota Twins

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2014 Record

76-73

Runs/Game

4.4

8th

Runs/Game

4.4

10th

AL Central

2nd

OBP

306

14th

H/9

9.5

14th

Last 10

4-6

SLG

402

10th

BB/9

2.6

2nd

Last 30

17-13

Steals

65

10th

SO/9

6.4

15th

In early April, the Tribe lost two of three in Minnesota and then in early May, the Twins also took of three in Cleveland. In August, each team won their home series by a 2-1 margin, giving the Twins a 7-5 edge on the year.

In early September, the Twins took two of three in Kansas City and Chicago, but have struggled since. The Tigers won a series in Minnesota and the Angels just took three of four.

Projected Roster

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OPS

wRC+

C

Kurt Suzuki

R

446

239

614

66

1B

Joe Mauer

L

616

266

715

93

2B

Brian Dozier

R

652

236

763

107

3B

Trevor Plouffe

R

588

248

753

105

SS

Eduardo Escobar

S

401

263

749

101

LF

Eddie Rosario

L

430

273

755

100

CF

Aaron Hicks

S

343

260

729

99

RF

Torii Hunter

R

520

247

721

95

DH

Miguel Sano

R

280

280

965

163

UT

Danny Santana

S

270

212

526

38

OF

Shane Robinson

R

192

251

627

72

IF

Eduardo Nunez

R

190

271

732

99

DH

Kennys Vargas

S

179

247

644

75

OF

Byron Buxton

R

125

197

501

34

C

Chris Herrmann

L

108

150

486

28

C

Eric Fryer

R

22

158

483

39

I still don't get how this team scores as many runs as it does. They don't get on base well at all, yet convert at a much better rate than the Tribe. In their past eleven games, they have had a power outburst of 15 home runs. Hunter and Plouffe have three apiece while Rosario, Sano, and Escobar have two each. Hunter also had a 11 RBI with a 1097 OPS in that timeframe. Plouffe (1023), Rosario (1023) and Sano (987) have been hot.

In the 12 Tribe games, Hunter has also done most of his damage. He has a 353/405/824 slash with 4 homers and 12 driven in. Nobody else has more than five. Dozier also has four homers with an 884 OPS.

Projected Staff

Player

Throws

ERA

FIP

IP

WHIP

K/9

Kyle Gibson

R

3.73

3.95

186.0

1.27

6.3

Mike Pelfrey

R

4.16

4.11

158.0

1.45

4.4

Phil Hughes

R

4.58

4.81

149.1

1.31

5.4

Tommy Milone

L

4.08

4.42

117.0

1.30

6.3

Ervin Santana

R

4.55

4.57

87.0

1.37

6.9

Glen Perkins

L

2.79

3.51

51.2

1.12

8.4

Trevor May

R

4.10

3.32

112.0

1.34

8.4

Blaine Boyer

R

2.36

4.13

61.0

1.23

4.6

Casey Fien

R

3.38

3.57

58.2

1.09

5.7

Brian Duensing

L

4.60

4.96

43.0

1.44

4.8

J.R. Graham

R

5.07

4.74

60.1

1.43

7.5

Tyler Duffey

R

3.15

3.26

45.2

1.31

8.7

Kevin Jepsen #

R

2.51

3.73

64.2

1.16

7.5

Ryan O'Rourke

L

6.52

4.85

19.1

1.40

9.8

Michael Tonkin

R

5.06

5.90

16.0

1.69

9.0

A.J. Achter

R

7.30

6.31

12.1

1.38

10.2

Neal Cotts ##

L

3.54

5.03

61.0

1.26

8.6

# includes stats with Rays; ## includes stats with Brewers

Santana has had a rough season since coming off his suspension, but has been pitching much better lately. He has a 2.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 9.4 K/9 in his past four starts. The Tribe walloped him for eight runs in just 2.1 innings in the 17-4 game on August 8. Hughes just recently returned to action from injury, making a three inning start on 9/15 against Detroit and pitching two innings in relief on 9/19. He will likely be on a strict pitch count. He gave four runs in both of his April/May starts, winning one and losing the other. The Tribe blasted him for seven runs in three innings on August 9, prompting his DL stint. Gibson has been very effective lately. He has a 2.67 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 6.4 K/9 in his past five starts. He hasn't faced the Indians in 2015, but has a 5.61 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in five career starts.

The Tribe has hit the Twins bullpen fairly well, with a 4.21 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 7.1 K/9 covering 47 innings. Most of the damage was against Achter, O'Rourke and Graham however. Perkins, Fien, Boyer and Duensing have all pitched well.

On the Shelf

  • SP Tom Milone [day to day], no timetable for return
  • SP Ricky Nolasco [60 day DL], possible late September return
  • P Ryan Pressley [60 day DL], out for season

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2015

5

7

417

65

54

584

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

1115

976

533

9635

8969

533

*Does not include 2015 stats

Prediction: All three games should favor the Tribe. But as has proven most of the season, this team cannot string a long streak together. I'll call for a series win with the bats going silent in one of the three games.