Indians’ bullpen takes hit ahead of series vs. Twins

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians, whose bullpen took another hit on Wednesday, will host the Minnesota Twins on Thursday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series. The teams have split the first two games of the series.

Cleveland will be without ace reliever Andrew Miller, who on Wednesday was placed on the disabled list for the third time this season, this time with a left shoulder impingement.

There is no timetable for Miller’s return, and for the Indians the timing couldn’t be worse. Closer Cody Allen is having the worst season of his career, and Cleveland has used 18 different relievers this year.

“He has a little bit of swelling in his bursa sac. So they injected it and that will hopefully knock it right out,” said Indians manager Terry Francona of Miller. “He’ll be down for four or five days to let that work and then we’ll ramp him back up.”

Francona said the team is putting no timetable on a return for Miller, who has appeared in 27 games and has a 3.38 ERA, his highest in eight years.

“Once we get to Sept. 1, we’re just going to go off of Andrew,” Francona said. “We’re going to do what’s right by him. We’ll update as we go. We just don’t know what that is yet.”

Miller’s absence is compounded by the struggles of the slumping Allen, who was the losing pitcher Wednesday, giving up two runs and the lead in the seventh inning and turning a 2-1 Cleveland lead into a 4-3 Minnesota victory. Allen’s ERA in his last five starts is 13.50, and he has temporarily been moved out of the closer’s role.

In his last five games, Allen has pitched four innings and allowed six runs and nine hits, with five walks and two home runs.

“He’s going through a tough time,” Francona said.

The pitching matchup Thursday afternoon will be Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi vs. Indians right-hander Mike Clevinger.

Odorizzi (5-8, 4.38 ERA) has only won one of his last eight starts. He is 1-2 with a 4.61 ERA in that span. His last start was a 7-1 loss to Oakland on Aug. 24, a game in which he pitched seven innings, allowing two runs, one earned, and five hits, with four strikeouts and one walk.

Thursday will be Odorizzi’s fifth start against Cleveland this year. He was 0-2 with a 7.85 ERA in the first four. His last start against the Indians came on Aug. 8, when he had a no-decision in a 5-2 Twins loss. Odorizzi pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up two runs, one earned, and four hits, with no strikeouts and two walks.

In his career against the Indians, Odorizzi has made eight starts and is 1-3 with a 5.89 ERA.

Clevinger (9-7, 3.30) has made two starts against the Twins this year and has no record and a 3.46 ERA. His last start against Minnesota was a no-decision on Aug. 8, a 5-2 Indians victory. Clevinger pitched seven innings and allowed one run and five hits, with five strikeouts and one walk.

In nine career appearances against the Twins Clevinger is 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA.

To replace Miller on the roster and in the bullpen, the Indians recalled left-hander Tyler Olson from Triple-A Columbus.