Twins-Indians Preview

A strong effort on the mound in their last game ended several

losing streaks for the Cleveland Indians. More production from the

lineup could give the AL Central leaders some momentum heading into

a tough road trip.

The Indians look to take a home series from the Minnesota Twins

for the first time in almost two years when the division foes

conclude a three-game set Wednesday.

Cleveland (34-25) beat Minnesota 1-0 on an unearned run Tuesday,

ending an eight-game slide to the Twins and season-high losing

streaks of seven at home and five overall.

“Over the years, I have discovered a shutout is the best way to

stop a losing streak,” manager Manny Acta said.

Acta may enjoy seeing the offense re-establish itself before

facing New York and Detroit – the Indians’ closest pursuer in the

division race – during a seven-game road trip.

Cleveland is hitting .228 during a 4-10 run, and .184 while

averaging 1.83 runs over the last six games. Those are significant

drops from the club’s .256 season average and 4.63 runs per game,

which both rank near the top of the league.

Despite the recent struggles, the Indians own the best home

record in the AL at 20-11, and they are on the brink of taking a

series there from Minnesota (22-38) for the first time since

winning two of three from Sept. 4-6, 2009. They’ve won just four of

11 when hosting the Twins.

Cleveland turns to Justin Masterson (5-4, 3.28), who is very

familiar with the Indians’ offensive struggles during a pair of

personal losing streaks.

The right-hander is 0-4 with a 4.05 ERA over his last seven

starts while being backed by five total runs. He got just one run

Friday, when he gave up four and a season-high 10 hits in an 11-2

loss to Texas.

The lack of support has also been evident during Masterson’s

eight career meetings – five starts – versus the Twins, as he’s 0-4

with a 4.82 ERA while getting an average of 2.17 runs from the

lineup.

His two most recent matchups with the division rival came in

relief last year, and he struggled greatly while getting charged

with a 6-4 loss Sept. 21, surrendering three runs in two-thirds of

an inning to waste a one-run lead in the eighth.

While the Indians are trying to generate some momentum, the

Twins are looking to regain their own after a season-high five-game

winning streak ended Tuesday.

Carl Pavano (3-5, 4.83) gets the ball in an effort to win for

the second time this month and build on perhaps his best

performance of the season.

The right-hander got his 100th victory Friday by tossing a

nine-hitter in a 5-2 win at Kansas City for his first complete game

of the season after leading the AL with seven in 2010. He had been

0-3 with a 5.26 ERA in his six starts in May.

“I feel like I’m getting the consistency back,” Pavano said.

“I’m definitely logging more innings and more quality innings.

There’s a difference between logging innings and quality innings.

I’m not where I want to be, but I’m on my way.”

Pavano is 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA in six starts against Cleveland,

holding the Indians to three runs in seven innings to get a 4-3 win

in the most recent meeting April 24 – the game prior to his winless

stretch last month.