Although they’ve used an outstanding stretch from the rotation to stay in the playoff hunt, the Cleveland Indians are looking to bounce back after running into an offensive juggernaut.
The Minnesota Twins have gotten little help in that area while plummeting to the bottom of the AL Central.
After manager Terry Francona called him "stubborn" his last time out, Trevor Bauer will try to lead the Indians to their fifth win in seven games Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game home series against the last-place Twins.
Cleveland starters own an MLB-best 2.53 ERA since the beginning of August, and a 2.27 mark while the Indians have won 10 of 15 to remain within striking distance of the division lead and a wild-card spot.
The Indians (74-68), however, stumbled against the majors’ best team in a makeup game Monday. The Angels tagged Danny Salazar for six runs over 4 2-3 innings in a 12-3 win.
Now the Indians turn to Bauer (5-7, 4.10 ERA) as they try to improve on a 7-6 record against Minnesota (61-82) this season.
The right-hander contributed to the success on the mound with 11 2-3 scoreless innings spanning two starts before giving up four runs and walking four over 5 2-3 in Thursday’s 11-4, 11-inning home loss to Detroit.
After the game, Francona called him "a stubborn kid" for not simplifying his approach.
"I don’t think being necessarily stubborn is a bad thing," Francona told MLB’s official website Monday. "I think it’s a part of what makes people good. I guess my point is, we want to help and we want to make sure that we’re doing it correctly."
Bauer hasn’t fared well against the Twins this season, allowing eight runs over 10 2-3 innings in going 0-1 in two starts at Target Field.
Oswaldo Arcia is 3 for 5 with two home runs when facing Bauer, while Danny Santana is 3 for 5 with a triple and a double. Santana has gone 13 for 33 in his last eight games and 13 for 33 against Cleveland, but he’s day to day with a strained back.
Joe Mauer is 14 for 30 in his last seven meetings with the Indians.
Minnesota has averaged 6.2 runs in its last 17 games but has dropped 12 of 15 while the rotation has posted a 5.82 ERA. The Twins surrendered 34 runs and 54 hits while getting swept by the visiting Angels in a four-game set over the weekend.
Trevor May (1-4, 9.38) is looking to build on his first career victory after allowing three runs over five innings to beat the White Sox 11-4 on Wednesday.
"Getting a win is definitely a step in the right direction," the right-hander said. "All the work I’ve been doing in between starts has started to pay off."
Michael Brantley is batting .400 during a 12-game hitting streak, but he’s 1 for 19 in his last five meetings with the Twins.
Lonnie Chisenhall went 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs and Carlos Santana added two hits Monday. Chisenhall is hitting .184 against Minnesota this season, while Santana has four homers and 12 RBIs in his last 10 games overall.