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Series preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins

Really? The Twins? Again?

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Look, I get the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins are in the same division so they have to play each other nearly 20 times every season, but could we maybe... not? Just this once? So far this season, the Indians have a winning record against every division rival in the American League Central except the Twins. The last time these two teams played, right after the All-Star break, the Indians finally took a series, 2-1.

The good news is that the Indians are still in control of the division, even if they do poorly against the Twins. They sit 4.5 games up over the Detroit Tigers, who are preparing for their intra-divisional series against the Chicago White Sox.

The massive heatwave that was covering the East Coast seems to be gone, and the Indians can expect pleasant temperatures in the 80s throughout the series, with a few clouds on Tuesday and Wednesday.


Monday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Danny Salazar (RHP) vs. Jose Berrios (RHP)

If you are into electric young pitchers who could potentially strike out every batter they face or collapse and walk seven in one game, this first matchup is for you.

The Indians faced 22-year-old Jose Berrios in his major-league debut in April, and since then he has had some issues. In four starts this season he has allowed 17 earned runs over 15 innings. Granted, he has struck out 20 batters in that span, but he has also walked 15. This will be his first start in the majors since May 16.

Opposite Berrios will be Danny Salazar, who is maybe a little bit more polished as a starting pitcher. Despite some recent struggles, Salazar's ERA still sits below 3.00 and he is striking out double-digit batters per nine innings. His last outing was a four-inning no-decision in which he allowed four earned runs off of five hits. It was his shortest outing of the season, and his first time not lasting at least five frames since May 22.

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Carlos Carrasco (RHP) vs. Kyle Gibson (RHP)

Kyle Gibson is coming off of two straight good starts for the Twins, combining to pitch 14 innings with 12 strikeouts and just one walk against the high-powered Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox offenses. On the season, Gibson has a 4.54 ERA and a 4.22 FIP -- both would be career-worsts over a full season's worth of starts.

Carlos Carrasco, on the other hand, is having a great season. His 2.45 ERA would be the best of his career, even if his 4.02 FIP suggests there is some luck involved. His BABIP is extremely low at .235 and he is also giving up more home runs than usual with a 16.5 percent HR/FB rate.

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Trevor Bauer (RHP) vs. Ricky Nolasco (RHP)

Ricky Nolasco has always been a pitcher with an ERA way above his FIP, and that remains the case this season. Despite only walking 2.09 batters per nine innings and inducing groundballs 42.3 percent of the time, he has a 5.13 ERA and a 4.29 FIP. His last outing was his best of 2016 so far -- an eight-inning no-decision in which he allowed one earned run off of three hits and struck out six White Sox batters.

After three straight poor outings, Trevor Bauer finally got on track last week with a 5.1 showing. His strikeouts are still not up where they should be, but only walking two batters against the Oakland Athletics was encouraging.

Thursday, 12:10 p.m. ET: Josh Tomlin (RHP) vs. Tommy Milone (RHP)

And finally, rounding out the parade of under-performing pitchers who will probably shut down the Indians, is Tommy Milone. Milone has a career-worst 5.08 FIP in 2016 and in his last outing he allowed four runs off of nine hits in just 5.1 innings.

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Team in a box

Minnesota Twins


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Minnesota Twins roster

Position players

  • C: Kurt Suzuki
  • 1B: Joe Mauer
  • 2B: Brian Dozier
  • SS: Eduardo Escobar
  • 3B: Miguel Sano
  • LF: Robbie Grossman
  • CF: Byron Buxton
  • RF: Max Kepler
  • DH: Kennys Vargas


  • C: Juan Centeno
  • IF: Jorge Polanco
  • OF: Eddie Rosario
  • OF: Danny Santana

Starting pitchers

  • RHP: Ervin Santana
  • RHP: Kyle Gibson
  • RHP: Ricky Nolasco
  • RHP: Jose Berrios
  • LHP: Tommy Milone


  • LHP: Fernando Abad
  • RHP: Brandon Kintzler
  • RHP: Trevor May
  • RHP: Ryan Pressly
  • RHP: Neil Ramirez
  • RHP: Michael Tonkin
  • LHP: Taylor Rogers
  • RHP: Tyler Duffey


  • OF: Tyler Plouffe, 15-day DL (Rib)
  • RHP: Phil Hughes, 60-day DL (Thoracic outlet syndrome)
  • LHP: Glen Perkins, 60-day DL (Shoulder)