Cleveland Indians-Minnesota Twins Series Preview

Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Cleveland Indians-Minnesota Twins Series Preview 7/15-7/17

The Cleveland Indians (52-36) kick off the second half of the season on the road with a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins (32-56). The Indians will look to extend their division lead, which now stands at 6.5 games over the Detroit Tigers. The Twins meanwhile are stuck in the American League cellar and have the second worst record in all of baseball, with only the Atlanta Braves having a worst first half.

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The probable pitching matchups for the series are:

"Friday (7/15): RHP Carlos Carrasco (5-3, 2.47 ERA) vs RHP Ervin Santana (3-7, 4.06)Saturday (7/16): RHP Trevor Bauer (7-3, 3.30) vs RHP Tyler Duffey (5-6, 5.20)Sunday (7/17): RHP Josh Tomlin (9-2, 3.51) vs RHP Kyle Gibson (2-5, 5.02)"

Manager Terry Francona decided to rearrange the rotation order post-break and give All-Stars Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar a few extra days rest. Carrasco will get the first start as he continues to look as dominant as any pitcher in the American League this season. Tomlin and Bauer will both look to rebound after coming off their worst starts of the season.  Tomlin allowed eight runs (five earned) back on July 6th against the Tigers while Bauer allowed five runs (all earned) back on July 7th against the Yankees.

The Twins will go with veteran Ervin Santana in the opener in what could be one of his final games with the Twins as he’s been subject to trade rumors already this summer. They’ll then turn to youngsters Tyler Duffey and Kyle Gibson who have struggled for much of the season as each has an earned run average over five.

The Indians will get their first look at rookie Erik Gonzalez this weekend as he was recalled from Triple-A Columbus yesterday. The versatile infielder could take over the utility role vacated by Michael Martinez. The Indians will also be looking for fellow rookie Tyler Naquin to remain hot at the plate. Since being recalled at the beginning of June, Naquin is batting .313 with an incredible 1.103 OPS.

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The Indians will look to turn their fortunes around against the lowly Twins this series. Despite having one of the best records in baseball, the Indians have gone just 2-4 against the last place Twins. In fact, the Twins are the only team in the Central division that the Indians have a losing record against, which is odd considering the Twins are the only team in the division with sub-.500 record. Following their series in Minnesota, the Indians will travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals in the three-game set at Kauffman Stadium.