The Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins gear up for an important series this weekend at Target Field. If the Indians want to play catch up with the Twins, here’s a glorious opportunity in Minnesota. The Indians did themselves some favors yesterday with a double-header sweep of the Texas Rangers. A 2-0 win was followed by a 5-1 win to complete a dominant day at the office for the pitching staff.
All series the pitching was working for the Tribe. Despite falling in the opener, the pitching did nothing wrong in a 1-0 loss. Going back to the Angels’ series, the pitching staff has been hot for the Indians. Since August 2nd, the Indians have allowed an average of just 1.8 runs per game.
The Indians made a power play to trade for Yasiel Puig at the trade deadline. They sent out Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati, which hasn’t hurt the pitching staff any, at least immediately after the deal. It’s a deal that made sense for both sides. The Indians need more offense and the Reds were searching for somebody to compliment Luis Castillo in the rotation.
Despite trading Bauer, Cleveland still have plenty of talent to carry the load. Terry Francona is thrilled about Aaron Civale and is confident in the rookie’s ability. If he wasn’t confident in Civale, Bauer likely doesn’t get moved. He must also feel good about Corey Kluber returning. Civale pitched a gem in Game 1 yesterday, but got zero run support.
In two games Civale has posted an ERA of 0.75 with just 1-run allowed. Mike Clevinger will look to hold the Twins at bay Thursday night in Minnesota. The Twins are clinging to a 2-game lead in the AL Central. Cleveland were able to gain ground on the Twins yesterday with the two wins and a 11-7 loss for Minnesota in Atlanta. The Twins return home after losing two of three against the Braves. They were previously on a four-game winning streak, but that fun came to an end in a 12-7 loss. Head below for our free Indians vs. Twins pick.
Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins Pick:
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With a successful weekend in Minnesota, the Indians can be on top of the AL Central for the first time this season. A four-game series gives them enough room to erase the two-game deficit and complete their comeback. The Twins seemed to be running away with the AL Central earlier in the season, but a lot can change fast. The Indians have been able to just about erase their lead, though, even without two of their better arms.
Corey Kluber broke his arm on a line drive and Carlos Carrasco was diagnosed with cancer to put more pressure on the rest of the rotation. Clevinger has continued to do what he’s been doing throughout his career.
Clevinger enters Thursday with an ERA of 3.07, which is consistent with his work from previous seasons. He posted ERA’s of 3.11 and 3.02 the last two seasons, which followed his rookie campaign. Clevinger will enter Thursday with an ERA of 3.07, so everything is going according to plan for him.
He’s been on fire most recently, with 1 or no runs allowed in five of his last six outings. After the Orioles battered him for 7 runs, Clevinger has figured it out and hasn’t stopped. In his last three outings, he’s posted a 2.21 ERA and 1.08 WHIP to get his ERA back to around his average.
The Twins have struggled to frustrate Clevinger in the past. They’re hitting just .211 against him in 114 at-bats. Conversely, the Indians’ offense has done well against Kyle Gibson, hitting .318 with a .414 OBP in 195 at-bats. They’ve also scored 27 runs and hit 9 long balls on Gibson during that time. Gibson enters with an ERA of 4.08 and 1.36 WHIP in his previous three tilts. I’m going with the hot hand of Clevinger in this spot in the opener of a big series in Minnesota.