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Cleveland Indians: Previewing the series against the Twins

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(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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The home-stand continues as the Cleveland Indians are set to take on the Minnesota Twins in hopes of taking the lead in the season series.

It’s been a while since the MLB schedule had seen the Cleveland Indians facing the same team they just saw four days ago. But that’s the way it goes a lot of the time. The Tribe just took two of three from the Minnesota Twins and now they’ll look to take the lead in the season series.

Minnesota leads the series 7-5 but it looks like the Indians have gained some serious momentum against them. The Indians are nine games up on the Twins in the AL Central but the Twinkies have played some really good baseball at Progressive Field.

While these teams did just play last week, there are some things to note in the Twins lineup since the last preview with these teams. Brain Dozier is gone and now resides with the LA Dodgers. The Dodgers sent Logan Forsythe to the Twins in return on the trade and he will primarily reside at 2B.

Lance Lynn was also traded away from the Twins. He was slated to start a game against the Indians last weekend, but they decided to move him to the New York Yankees.

Two of the pitching matchups are also the same as last week so we will focus on the other two matchups.

Probable Pitchers

MON: RHP Kyle Gibson (MIN) vs RHP Trevor Bauer (CLE)

TUE: LHP Adalberto Mejia (MIN) vs RHP Carlos Carrasco (CLE)

WED: RHP Jake Odorizzi (MIN) vs RHP Mike Clevinger (CLE)

Jake Odorizzi has not had fun when facing Cleveland this year. He has a 9.88 ERA in two outings against them this year, allowing 15 runs total. In fact, he’s struggled against a lot of the top teams this year, with ERA’s over nine against the Yankees and Red Sox. On the year he has a 4.60 ERA and hasn’t exactly made the impact the Twins wanted when they got him from Tampa Bay.

Mike Clevinger had another rough outing, once again allowing multiple runs early. This time he wasn’t held accountable for the loss as the bullpen cost the Tribe that game. If Clevinger is able to get out of the early innings unscathed, he usually does a great job of settling in. He has to make sure that he doesn’t allow those early runs as he has a 4.50 ERA in the first and third innings of games.

THU: RHP Jose Berrios (MIN) vs RHP Corey Kluber (CLE)

Jose Berrios has been one of the better pitchers for the Twins this year. He’s been pretty effective against the Tribe with a 2.77 ERA. He netted his 11th win this weekend by beating the Royals. In that outing he allowed just two runs in seven innings with six strikeouts.

Corey Kluber is back and the AL is in big trouble. Okay, let’s not get drastic. But if his outing on Saturday is any indication, Kluber is back to health and that should scare the Indians opposition. Kluber pitched a Maddux (complete game shutout with under 100 pitches) against the Angels and has dominated the AL Central all season. If you’re the Twins, all you can ask for is one run because if Kluber is locked in, even that may be hard to come by.

Storylines

Jose Ramirez is eyeing the AL MVP award

It’s no longer an under-the-radar thing for Jose Ramirez, he has his eyes set on contending for the AL MVP. When you look at the contenders for the award you have Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez, and possibly JD Martinez (no DH has ever won the award).

Jose is tied with the aforementioned Martinez in homers, and leads the AL with 26 stolen bases. he is third in the AL in slugging. His fWAR is 7.5, just .1 below Mike Trout, and he plays the hot corner as good, if not better than anyone in the AL. There is a lot of competition for Ramirez, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t be considered a top contender for the award.

Worse/Best case

Worse case: 2-2 series split

The Indians want to come out as the victors of this series if they’re efforts to chase down a higher seed in the AL are to come into play. The Twins are a lower level of completion than they were a week ago. If the Indians don’t take advantage of that it could be a bad look for the Tribe.

Best case: 3-1 series win

Don’t expect a walk in the park for the Tribe. The Twins love to play in Cleveland and they know they’ve had the Indians number this year. But if the Indians can take three games in this series, they can shut the Twins down for good. With three of their best pitchers taking the mound this week it shouldn’t be hard. If Mike Clevinger is able to perform as we’ve come to expect from him, then a sweep could be in the cards.

Next. How the Tribe bullpen is holding up. dark

The series kicks off tonight and will continue until Thursday afternoon. Gotta love a good old-fashioned four-game series. Go Tribe!

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