Thursday, March 28: RHP Kluber (CLE) vs. RHP Berrios (MIN)
There was a collective exhale that could be heard echoing over the tides of Lake Erie when Indians fans saw that the team would not be trading Corey Kluber this offseason. The Cleveland Indians ace will make his fifth consecutive Opening Day start. A 2.89 ERA in 2018 is considered a “down year” for Kluber by his standards.
He racked up 222 strikeouts and 20 wins, but it was only good enough for him to finish third in the Cy Young Award voting. Ho-hum. Of all the teams in the AL Central, the Twins have been able to get to Kluber the most in recent years, posting a 3.03 ERA in the last three years against them.
As for Jose Berrios, he’s looking to find his groove as the Twins ace. He was never able to really get things going in 2018. Against Cleveland, he posted a 4.24 ERA in three starts. Again, this Indians lineup is rattled right now. He’ll have to take advantage of that to out-duel the Indians ace.
Saturday, March 30: RHP Bauer (CLE) vs. RHP Odorizzi (MIN)
Our lovable loudmouth takes the mound in game two of this series. Trevor Bauer was another name that was mentioned in multiple trades. It was another part of the offseason that drove me crazy, but nonetheless, he is still here.
Bauer had a career-year in 2018 including having one of the best ERA in baseball, 2nd in HR/9 innings, 6th in WAR among pitchers, and plenty more impressive stats. If Bauer likes to bring them up, we do too.
Jake Odorizzi spent his first full year with the Twins last year. It was more of the same that he saw in Tampa as he finished with an ERA above 4.00 once again and only won seven games. Against the Tribe he had a 7.23 ERA in 5 starts.
Sunday, March 31: RHP Carrasco (CLE) vs. RHP Pineda (MIN)
The longest-tenured Cleveland Indians player starts his 10th season with the Tribe and gets the nod for the Sunday matinee. Carlos Carrasco has usually been the second starter for the Indians, but he dealt with injury last season and quietly took a backseat to Bauer. That’s not to discredit Cookie at all. Carrasco was one of the four pitchers on the Indians staff with 200+ strikeouts and he can still pack heat.
If the Indians need this game to take the series, they’ll have to do so against Michael Pineda in his first year with the Twins. Pineda and the Yankees never really hit it off (a problem a lot of pitchers seem to have with them. Probably because of their sliders). But now he’s looking for new beginnings in a Twins rotations that is pretty underwhelming.