Kevin Correia likely needs to cut down on walks to end his recent struggles.
It’s an issue the Minnesota Twins hope Correia resolves as they look for a fourth straight victory when they face the visiting Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.
Correia (6-6, 4.23 ERA) has been Minnesota’s most reliable starter this season, posting a team-leading nine quality starts. He’s been plagued by control problems lately, however, issuing 13 walks over 22 1-3 innings of his last four starts, in which he’s gone 0-2 with a 5.64 ERA.
The right-hander walked the same number of batters in 88 1-3 innings over his first 14 starts, during which he went 6-4 with a 3.87 ERA.
The Indians (51-45) might not be the ideal opponent against which to find his control, as they average a walk every 10.8 plate appearances, among the best rates in the major leagues.
Cleveland drew four walks but lost 3-2 on Friday after Joe Mauer’s go-ahead single in the eighth. The All-Star catcher is 12 for 26 during a seven-game hitting streak.
“It was good that they pitched to Joe and gave him a chance,” said Glen Perkins, who converted his 22nd save in 24 chances this season. “So thanks for that.”
Correia allowed three runs over 5 1-3 innings of a 4-3 road loss to Tampa Bay on July 10, walking five for the first time since April 29, 2012. He also surrendered a two-run homer.
The Indians have gone 1-6 in their last seven games in Minnesota but may have a good chance for a victory Saturday with Corey Kluber (7-5, 3.88) on the mound. Cleveland has won six of his last seven starts with the right-hander going 4-1 with a 3.15 ERA in that span.
Kluber has struck out 18 in 14 innings over his last two starts. He threw 7 2-3 innings in a 3-0 victory over Kansas City on July 12.
“He certainly stays composed,” manager Terry Francona said. “For a young pitcher, that’s a big compliment.”
Correia gave up four runs and walked two in five innings of a 7-3 loss at Cleveland on May 4.
Kluber has gone 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA in five career starts against Minnesota, both decisions coming this season as he allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings in both outings.
Michael Bourn continued to hit Minnesota hard Friday, going 2 for 4 and driving in both of Cleveland’s runs to make him 10 for 17 in four games against the Twins this year.
Jason Kipnis had been 12 of 24 with 12 RBIs in six games versus Minnesota this season before going 0 for 3 on Friday.