Cleveland Indians: Crazy schedule for Twins gives Tribe advantage

Josh Naylor #22 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Josh Naylor #22 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
Cleveland Indians, Jake Bauers
Jake Bauers #10 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

Crazy schedule for Minnesota Twins gives Cleveland Indians advantage

After a lengthy road trip to the west coast the Cleveland Indians will return to Progressive Field for a weekend series against the Minnesota Twins, but even so it might be the Twins that are the ones fatigued from a road trip. Both Cleveland and Minnesota will enter the series following trips to Anaheim, but the Twins was a much more unconventional trip that could give the Tribe an advantage in the series.

For the Cleveland Indians, they spent the last week on the west coast, playing four against the Seattle Mariners and three versus the Los Angeles Angels. After an off day for travel, the Tribe will be back on the field on Friday for a home series against the Twins. That’s a rather typical schedule turnaround.

The Twins on the other hand have been all over the map, having played 11 games in the last 10 days with no off day. The first set of games over the stretch were on the road against the Chicago White Sox before a homestand for Minnesota against Oakland and the White Sox again. Where the schedule got weird was their makeup games.

What was originally an off day for the Twins turned into a day trip to LA for a doubleheader. The Twins had to play the White Sox on Wednesday in Minnesota for a noon start. After that one, they had to fly out to LA and play two games on Thursday, get back on a plane and get to Cleveland. Three time zones in three days and four games isn’t an easy thing to do.

On top of that, the team lost their off day. The Twins now have three games in Cleveland followed by three at home before three against the Orioles before they finally have an off day next Thursday, resulting in 17 games over a 16-day stretch.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians have been able to rest up for a day after their west coast trip and settle back in at home in Cleveland. The downside is that the Twins still haven’t officially announced a starter for Friday, so preparation has been done with speculation to this point. As for the rest of the series, Kenta Maeda will oppose the Tribe on Saturday followed by J.A. Happ on Sunday, leaving the presumed Friday starter to be Randy Dobnak. As for the Tribe, they are set to toss Triston McKenzie, Shane Bieber and Sam Hentges in the series against the Twins.

McKenzie has yet to face the Twins this season, but he did face them during the 2020 season once, allowing five runs over 4.1 innings. Bieber also hasn’t opposed Minnesota in 2021, but did three times during last season, being 2-1 over three starts including a 13-strikeout eight inning shutout. As for Hentges, this will be his first start against the Twins after pitching two relief innings against them earlier this year.

So far this season, the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins have faced just once with the Tribe taking the series 2-1. The Twins have struggled this season and played far below expectations that has left them in last place of the AL Central entering the series with a 15-28 record, two games worse than the Detroit Tigers. The Tribe, on the other hand, are in second place in the division even after the stumble and four-game skid. The last two wins have them back to 23-18 and just 2.5 games behind the first place Chicago White Sox.

The Cleveland Indians have the chance to make a solid dent in the divisional race over the next week. Not only do the Tribe have three at home against the Twins, but they then head to Detroit for four games, being a full week against bottom tier teams in the division.

Over that same stretch, the White Sox will play in Yankee Stadium for three games before three at home against the St. Louis Cardinals. While those are still winnable games, the Tribe will have the better shot to consistently win over the next week, making for what could be an intriguing run towards first place in the division. First things first, they need to win the first game of the series before they can start looking at how they can jump up in the division.

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