Twins, Indians postponed by rain at Target Field

However the season is dissected, the Cleveland Indians have

certainly started strong.

For manager Manny Acta, it’s not the time for this to

matter.

Arguably baseball’s biggest early surprise, the Indians rolled

into Minnesota with the best record in the American League at 13-6.

The defending AL Central champion Twins are already six games

behind.

Acta was speaking cautiously like any manager or coach in sports

would, but he even looked uncomfortable as he fielded questions

from reporters about his fledgling team before Friday’s postponed

game against the Twins.

”They’ve been the best team in our division the past few years.

The title chase still runs through Minnesota,” Acta said. ”It’s

still very early. Way too early. I know everyone would rather be on

top right now. That’s normal, but it’s way too early. Let’s not

forget these guys were trailing the White Sox by like five games

after the All-Star break, and they won the division relatively

easy.”

Chicago beat Minnesota on July 15, the first game of the second

half, and led the Central by 4 1/2 games. The Twins clinched it on

Sept. 21, with a win against the Indians no less.

Cleveland’s quest to build on this early edge was squelched by a

cold, steady rain over Target Field that prompted the game to be

called about a half-hour before Friday’s scheduled first pitch.

No makeup date was announced, but the rescheduled matchup will

be either in July (18-20) or September (16-18) during one of the

other trips that Cleveland makes to Minnesota this season. The

teams have a day off in common on Monday, Sept. 19. Otherwise,

they’ll probably play a split doubleheader.

For now, they’ll just face off twice this weekend, with the

weather expected to improve.

Twins pushed the scheduled start for left-hander Brian Duensing

back to the game on Saturday afternoon, when he’ll face the Indians

and Fausto Carmona. The Twins left right-hander Carl Pavano in line

to start on Sunday afternoon, facing right-hander Carlos Carrasco,

who was bumped back a day like Carmona.

The Twins then moved left-hander Francisco Liriano to Tuesday

night against the Tampa Bay Rays, giving him seven days off between

starts. The Indians were planning to start right-hander Jeanmar

Gomez on Sunday, but with an off day on Monday there was no

immediate word on when he’ll start again.

This is the second postponed game in Target Field history. The

Twins had one postponement in May last season as well as one game

suspended by rain and finished the next day. After playing in the

Metrodome for 28 years, they moved outside to their new

limestone-and-glass ballpark on the edge of downtown last

season.

For the sputtering Twins, with ailments for Justin Morneau

(sick) and Delmon Young (ribs) and Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka

on the disabled list with leg injuries, the unexpected night off

didn’t hurt. When they make this game up, they ought to be able to

play without half of their lineup missing.

For the Indians, coming off a momentum is important, but

outfielder Austin Kearns shrugged off any adverse effect of the

postponement.

”It’s a rainout. We get an early game tomorrow, so it’s not

like you’re getting a whole day,” Kearns said.

As for facing the Twins when they’re in a slump?

”I hadn’t really thought about that. Still got to go out and

play. It doesn’t matter who’s out there,” Kearns said.

Acta said he’s expecting the Twins, White Sox and Detroit Tigers

to snap to life and make a five-team race out of this. The Kansas

City Royals are also off to a fast start, unexpected by most fans

and analysts around the game.

”We’re playing well. You can’t compare yourself to others. You

just have to keep getting better yourself and see where that takes

you,” Acta said, adding: ”To me it’s about consistent baseball.

You have to make sure you don’t get into too many lulls. You have

to make sure that if you have a month where you don’t play .500,

it’s not ridiculously bad. That’s what it’s all about.”