If it feels like the Indians were just in town, well, it’s because they were. Cleveland swept the Twins in four games last weekend to take sole possession of the AL Central.
Despite the ugly series, the Twins are only 2.5 games behind the Indians and could take back their claim as the division frontrunner by sweeping them in a three-game series this weekend, which begins Friday night.
That’s the plan, anyway, for the Twins and their reliable slugging infielder, Brian Dozier.
Since 2014, Brian Dozier has arguably been MLB’s best second baseman. Dozier wears a steady glove that’s good for the occasional flashy play in the field, and his production at the plate ranks at the top of the league at his position.
Which should come as no surprise for Twins fans.
Only taking into account games in which he played at second, Dozier leads all MLB second basemen in home runs (103) and walks (244) since 2014. He ranks second in RBI (277) and runs (348), just behind Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler, respectively. Dozier is third with 61 stolen bases and fifth in on-base plus slugging (.793) in the same time span.
As a Twins fan, you might be wondering where Dozier’s 42 home runs that he hit last season are in 2017. But, actually, the 30-year-old slugger is off to a better start this season. Through the first 66 games of this year, Dozier has smacked four more homers than he had through 66 games in 2016.
Brian Dozier (through 66 games)
— Minnesota has lost 14 out of its last 17 matchups with Cleveland, dating back to August 4 of last year. In that time, the Indians outscored the Twins by an average of 3.12 runs per game.
— The Twins are still having success on the road. Their 20-9 record away from home ranks second in MLB, and Minnesota is 7-2 in one-run games on the road.
— An interesting tidbit about Adalberto Mejia: Opposing teams are hitting .358 against him with nobody on base but only .187 when runners are on. Opponents are hitting .304 off Mejia at Target Field but are held to a .205 average when he’s on the road. Maybe he should always pitch from the stretch … during road trips?
— Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez takes a 10-game hitting streak into the series against Minnesota.
— When holding their opponents to three or fewer runs, Minnesota is 26-4.
Statistics courtesy STATS and baseball-reference.com