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Series preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins

Oh... oh no. Oh no no no no no no.

Leon Halip/Getty Images

Does it really have to be time to play the Minnesota Twins again? You know, technically, the Cleveland Indians could forfeit these three games and still have a lead in the American League Central, no matter what the Kansas City Royals or Detroit Tigers do. Just think about it, three days off and we do not have to watch the Royals morph into the greatest team of this generation.

If we are really going to pretend that offer is off the table, then I guess we have to prepare for the Indians to face a team they are 5-8 against this season. But more important than eight losses is the pain. Oh, the endless, nightmarish pain of watching Max Kepler homer roughly a million times in the last Twins-Indians series.

Kepler has cooled off a bit since he homered three times in the span of a couple hours back on August 1. Since August 5, the 23-year-old is slashing .215/.293/.253 with no home runs and just three doubles to his name. It still unknown if his dark powers are activated simply by being in the proximity of the Indians' Block C logo, though, so who knows what he will do in this series.

The weather looks like it might cooperate for once. The third and final game might have minor interruptions, but the other two are excepted to be near-perfect conditions.

Pitching matchups

Monday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Trevor Bauer (RHP) vs. Hector Santiago (LHP)

The Minnesota Twins decided they wanted to add something at the deadline, and they went with Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Hector Santiago. Since the trade was made, it looks like the Angels got the better end of the deal.

Santiago has a 10.89 ERA and a 7.31 FIP in four starts with his new team, including two-straight games of allowing seven or more earned runs with two strikeouts. Santiago is relying more on his changeup this season than in previous years, with his once-dominant screwball becoming non-existent in 2016.

Trevor Bauer's last start looked bad in the box score, but the defense certainly did not help him. Luckily, a bad play by Carlos Santana was changed to an error to remove two earned runs, but Trevor still finished the day three earned runs over 6.2 innings.

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Josh Tomlin (RHP) vs. Andrew Albers (RHP)

This will Albers' first start since 2013, the last time he played with the Twins. In the past three seasons, Albers has pitched a total of 11 innings in the majors (2.2 with the Toronto Blue Jays). In those games, he has allowed five earned runs and three home runs.

Josh Tomlin remains in the Indians rotation, but for how long? The struggling 31-year-old allowed at least two home runs in each of his last three starts. And in four of his last five, he has allowed at least six earned runs while never striking out more than five. His control is not what it was at the beginning of the season, but he continues to attack the zone all the same. Without movement on the ball, opposing hitters are having no trouble clubbing meatballs out of the park.

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. ET: Corey Kluber (RHP) vs. Pat Dean (LHP)

Pat Dean is another relative newcomer to the Twins rotation, making his eighth start of the season (and his career) at 27 years old. Dean has a 6.24 ERA and a 4.97 FIP in 49 innings this season.

Corey Kluber: Still very good at baseball.

Upcoming schedule

The Indians will enjoy a lengthy homestand starting with the Twins. Following this series, on Thursday, the Tribe will get a much-needed day off, their first in almost a month. They will also host the Miami Marlins and Houston Astros before hitting the road to face the Twins again.

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Team in a box

Minnesota Twins


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The Twins are not exactly on fire coming into this series. But we know that. Everyone knows that the Twins are not good against literally everyone but the Indians. Their offensive rankings are eerily similar to the Texas Rangers, who are equally as middle-of-the-road in every as the Twins. The big difference is that the Twins do not have any clutch hitting to speak of, and their pitching staff is atrocious.

Minnesota Twins roster

Position players

  • C: Kurt Suzuki
  • 1B: Joe Mauer
  • 2B: Brian Dozier
  • SS: Jorge Planco
  • 3B: Trevor Plouffe
  • LF: Robbie Grossman
  • CF: Eddie Rosario
  • RF: Max Kepler
  • DH: Miguel Sano


  • C: Juan Centero
  • IF: Eduardo Escobar
  • OF: Logan Schafer

As previously mentioned, Max Kepler has come back down to earth since last facing the Indians. So much so, in fact, that he has probably played himself out of the American League Rookie of the Year running.

On the other hand, Brian Dozier has been spectacular for the Twins this season. He leads the team by a wide margin in FanGraphs WAR with 4.6. The next closest is Eduardo Nunez as 1.6 -- he was traded at the deadline to the San Francisco Giants.

Starting rotation

  • RHP: Ervin Santana
  • LHP: Hector Santiago
  • RHP: Kyle Gibson
  • LHP: Pat Dean
  • LHP: Andrew Albers


  • RHP: JT Chargois
  • RHP: Brandon Kintzler
  • RHP: Pat Light
  • LHP: Ryan O'Rourke
  • RHP: Ryan Pressly
  • LHP: Tayor Rogers
  • RHP: Michael Tonkin
  • RHP: Alex Wimmers

It's ugly.