The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians are well out of the AL
Central race, but they’ll both have a major impact on which team
Their matchup this week could help determine if Minnesota or
Cleveland ends up last.
The Twins will try to snap a three-game skid when they go for a
fourth consecutive victory over the Indians on Tuesday night.
Long out of the playoff conversation, division-worst Minnesota
(60-87) and Cleveland (61-86) head into this final 15-game stretch
with the purpose of evaluating talent and building momentum into
However, both clubs will play a big role in helping to determine
the division winner, as the Twins face second-place Detroit six
more times and the Indians have six left with first-place
“We want to see some fire at the end here,” manager Manny Acta
told the team’s official website. “Facing the Tigers, the White
Sox, teams that are fighting for a spot, it’s going to be better
for us to judge these guys, because they’re not going to be facing
Cleveland continues its homestand following Sunday’s 7-6 walkoff
win over the Tigers, while Minnesota comes to town after getting
swept by the White Sox.
The Twins have dropped five of six since winning three straight
over the visiting Indians from Sept. 8-10.
“We have a day off that’s much needed,” manager Ron Gardenhire
told the Twins’ official website following a 9-2 loss Sunday.
“We’re starting to get some guys healthy and back on the field,
which is a good thing. We’ve got a road trip through Cleveland and
Detroit, so hopefully we’ll play better baseball on the road.”
The Twins, winners of four of six in Cleveland this season,
should have Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit available for this three-game
set after both returned from injury Sunday.
P.J. Walters (2-4, 6.70 ERA) will make his third appearance
after missing nearly three months due to shoulder inflammation. The
right-hander is 0-2 with a 12.00 ERA since returning after giving
up six runs in four-plus innings of a 10-5 loss to Kansas City on
Five of the runs Walters surrendered scored in the fifth.
“He couldn’t get an out,” Gardenhire said. “Ball started flying
all over the place. That was one bad inning.”
David Huff (1-0, 0.00) pitched 3 1/3 outstanding innings against
Minnesota earlier this month and will make his first start for
Cleveland in nearly a year Tuesday.
The left-hander has made two appearances – both on the road –
since getting called up from Triple-A Columbus on Sept. 4. In his
first game since throwing 5 2-3 innings of two-run ball in an 8-2
home win over Minnesota on Sept. 24, Huff retired all 10 he faced
and struck out four in a 7-6 victory at Target Field on Sept.
Catcher Carlos Santana has been swinging a hot bat for Cleveland
this month, hitting .316 with team highs of two homers, four
doubles, two triples and 10 RBIs. Santana leads the club with four
home runs and 12 RBIs against Minnesota this season.
He has never faced Walters.
Mauer is 9 for 20 with a homer and a double versus Huff, while
Justin Morneau has six hits – four doubles – in 17 at-bats off the
Morneau has a team-high six homers and 19 RBIs versus Cleveland
The Twins lead the season series 10-5 and have won 10 of the
last 12 meetings.