CLEVELAND — The hot Minnesota Twins are right where they want to be — on the road.
The slumping Cleveland Indians are right where they inexplicably have trouble winning — at home.
On Saturday, the two teams will meet in the second game of their three-game series in Cleveland. In the first game on Friday night, Minnesota won 1-0. The Twins are now 10-4 on the road and the Indians are just 6-7 at Progressive Field.
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Those trends are part of a bigger picture that has seen the Twins win 10 of their last 14 games. The Indians, meanwhile, have lost six of their last 10 games, and the biggest reason is that the Indians are having trouble scoring runs.
That fact was dramatically underscored Friday, when the Indians only gave up one run but still lost. The Indians have been held to three or fewer runs in eight of their last 10 games.
Twins manager Paul Molitor is understandably grateful for his team’s strong play on the road. The Twins have won five of their last six road games.
“This has been a good stretch of road games for us,” Molitor said.
The pitching matchup Saturday will be right-hander Mike Clevinger (1-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Indians and right-hander Jose Berrios for the Twins. Berrios was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to make his first major league start of the season.
In six starts at Rochester, Berrios was 3-0 and was leading the International League with a 1.13 ERA. Last year, Berrios made 14 starts for the Twins and was 3-7 with an 8.02 ERA. Three of those 14 starts came against the Indians, and in those games Berrios was 1-2 with a 7.82 ERA.
In order to clear a spot on the roster for Berrios, the Twins optioned right-hander Nick Tepesch to Rochester after Friday’s game.
Clevinger will be making his second start for the Indians. He started the season at Triple-A Columbus but was recalled on May 7 to assume Corey Kluber’s spot in the rotation. Kluber was placed on the disabled list May 3 with a lower back strain. Saturday will mark Clevinger’s second start in Kluber’s spot in the rotation.
Clevinger’s first start replacing Kluber came May 7 in Kansas City. In that game, Clevinger got the win in a 1-0 Indians victory. He pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing one hit, with five strikeouts and four walks.
Before his recall, Clevinger made six starts at Columbus and was 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA.
Clevinger split the 2016 season between Columbus and Cleveland. In 17 starts at Columbus, he was 11-1 with a 3.00 ERA. He spent most of the second half of the season in Cleveland, making 17 appearances (10 starts) for the Indians and going 3-3 with a 5.26 ERA.
In two career appearances against Minnesota, both starts, Clevinger is 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA, allowing three runs and nine hits in 8 1/3 innings.
Manager Terry Francona said he thinks Clevinger’s time in the big leagues last season can only help him this year.
“I think that experience helps him a lot,” Francona said. “He knows what to expect now, so he’s better positioned to compete because of the experience he gained last year.”