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Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins series preview

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I would talk crap here, but I just saw the Royals’ series and am a little stitious.

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The last series was supposed to be a breeze, but the Cleveland Indians dropped 2 of 3 to the Kansas City Royals in truly frustrating fashion. Now they head back home to face the Minnesota Twins, a team that is by all accounts better than the Royals. Should I be worried? My mind’s telling me no, but my body...my body is telling me yes.

Looking ahead

The Twins will wrap in Cleveland and will head to Texas to face off against the Texas Rangers for three games followed by the Houston Astros for three games. The Indians will keep rolling at home with a three-game visit from the Tampa Bay Rays followed by another bout with the Royals, this time at Progressive Field.

Pitching match-ups

Tuesday, August 28 7:10 p.m. ET: Kyle Gibson (RHP) v. Carlos Carrasco (RHP)

Kyle Gibson has been arguably the best starter for the Twins this season. He and Jose Berrios are neck and neck, but fewer earned runs in slightly fewer innings may give him the edge. Regardless, he’s had a good year. In 158.2 innings, Gibson has allowed 64 earned runs while walking 65 hitters and striking out 149 (which translates to an ERA+ of 121). His most recent start came on August 22 against the Chicago White Sox; in that game, Gibson went 4.2 innings and allowed 4 earned runs on 7 hits while walking 4 and striking out 5.

Carlos Carrasco was having a fantastic August until the Red Sox had to come and ruin it. His most recent start came on August 22 against Boston; in that game, Cookie went 3.2 innings and allowed 5 earned runs on 8 hits while walking 1 and striking out 6. Overall this year, however, Carrasco has pitched great. Across 147.0 innings, Carrasco has allowed 58 earned runs while walking 29 hitters and striking out 167 (which translates to an ERA+ of 124).

Wednesday, August 29 7:10 p.m. ET: Kohl Stewart (RHP) v. Adam Plutko (RHP)

Kohl Stewart was a first round (4th overall) pick by the Twins in 2013 and he’s finally made his MLB debut this year. He hasn’t done well at all, but he’s pitched a grand total of 11.2 innings at the MLB level; across those 11.2 innings, Stewart has allowed 9 earned runs while walking 7 hitters and striking out 9 (which translates to a SSS-aided ERA+ of 65). He’s got a good groundball sinker (93 mph) in addition to a good groundball fourseam (93 mph) that also can get hitters to swing and miss. He also has a good, sweeping slider (83 mph) to pair with his fastball. His most recent start came on August 23 against the Oakland Athletics; in that game, Stewart went 4.2 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 7 hits while walking 2 hitters and striking out 6.

Adam Plutko has had a rough go of it this year, but he may benefit from some regularity now that he’s a mainstay in the rotation (until Trevor Bauer returns). So far this season, Plutko has pitched in 53.0 innings and has allowed 30 earned runs while walking 17 hitters and striking out 39 (which translates to an ERA+ of 87). His most recent start came on August 23 against the Red Sox; in that game, Plutko lasted just 4.1 innings and allowed 5 earned runs on 5 hits while walking 5 and striking out 4.

Thursday, August 30 1:10 p.m. ET: Jake Odorizzi (RHP) v. Mike Clevinger (RHP)

Jake Odorizzi has been trending in the wrong direction for the past couple of years, but he’s still managed to be an average starter. In his first season with the Twins this year, Odorizzi has pitched in 137.2 innings and has allowed 67 earned runs while walking 54 hitters and striking out 140 (which translates to an ERA+ of 100). His most recent start came on August 24 against the Athletics; in that game, Odorizzi went 7.0 innings and allowed 1 earned run on 5 hits while walking 1 hitter and striking out 4.

Mike Clevinger is getting himself ready to start in the playoffs this October, and he’s done fairly well so far this season in that preparation. Across 163.2 innings, Clevinger has allowed 60 earned runs while walking 55 hitters and striking out 163 (which translates to an ERA+ of 133). His most recent start came on August 24 against the Kansas City Royals; in that game, Clevinger went 6.0 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 4 hits while walking 2 hitters and striking out 8.

Players to watch

  • Eddie Rosario - The power hitting left fielder for the Twins has hit very well this season. Across 549 plate appearances, Rosario has a slash of .289/.327/.483 (which translates to a wRC+ of 114). He currently leads the team in doubles (30), home runs (22), RBIs (73) and steals (8), so if his teammates can get on in front of him he’ll knock ‘em in. If not, he’ll do it himself.
  • Taylor Rogers - Rogers has been a workhorse for the Twins this season. He’s already at 59 appearances this season and he’s been effective during that time. He’s pitched 54.1 innings and has allowed 20 earned runs while walking 14 hitters and striking out 61 (which translates to an ERA+ of 133). His one drawback is his strand rate. He’s only stranding 71.7% of runners, which is right around average and is lower than his career mark of 76.4%.

Storylines

Andrew Miller’s fastball

Andrew Miller has looked better as of late, but he still doesn’t seem to be quite where he was in 2016 when he was basically peak Randy Johnson. His slider is showing more and more life with each outing, but his fastball is continuing to get stuck around the 93-94 mph range. A couple more ticks on his fastball and he may be back to vintage Miller. Until then, he’s an entirely different pitcher on the mound.

Cody Allen’s curveball

Cody Allen has had one of the best curveballs in all of baseball over the past couple of seasons. This year, however, it’s doing more harm than good. His fastball seems to be doing just fine, but when he can’t pair it with a good curveball, he morphs into Zach McAllister 2.0.

Minnesota Twins roster

FanGraphs

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the Twins?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    3
    (29 votes)
  • 53%
    2
    (49 votes)
  • 10%
    1
    (10 votes)
  • 3%
    0
    (3 votes)
91 votes total Vote Now