Preview: Twins at Indians
Minnesota has won the first two games of the series while roughing up Cleveland’s top two starting pitchers, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. The Twins have won five in a row against their American League Central rivals, outscoring the Indians 36-16.
The Indians’ 9-3 loss Saturday was a costly one. Carrasco was knocked out of the game in the second inning when he was hit on the right elbow by a line drive off the bat of Joe Mauer. Carrasco went to a local hospital for tests after the game.
“It hit him right on the elbow. He was hurting,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “They’re still doing some scans. Right now, they are calling it a contusion and the hope is that’s all it is. We’ll know more tomorrow.”
Carrasco’s early exit caused Francona to use most of his bullpen, including right-hander Adam Plutko, who was scheduled to start Sunday. But those plans changed.
Shane Bieber will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to start Sunday in place of Plutko.
Bieber made a spot start for the Indians, his major league debut, on May 31, coincidentally against the Twins. The Indians won the game 9-8, but Bieber was not involved in the decision. He pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and eight hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Bieber has been the Indians’ top minor league pitcher in the first half of the season. In a combined 12 starts at Columbus and Double-A Akron, Bieber is 6-1 with a 1.29 ERA. One of those wins was a rain-shortened seven-inning no-hitter for Columbus.
Bieber will have his hands full with a red-hot Minnesota lineup, led by outfielder Eddie Rosario, who has been a one-man wrecking crew against Cleveland this year. On Saturday, Rosario was 4-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBIs. All four of his hits came on the first pitch.
Against the Indians this year, Rosario is batting .471 (16-for-34) with six home runs and 11 RBIs.
“They are in a special place (offensively) now,” Francona said. “Rosario, the first pitch you throw him he’s just whacking it. We need to throw him some pitches out of the zone. He’s hitting everything. They are a good hitting team.”
The Twins’ Sunday starter will be right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 4.19 ERA), who has not won since May 8. In six starts since, he is 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA, although a lack of run support has been part of the problem.
The Twins scored three runs or fewer in four of those six Odorizzi starts, the last of which came June 12 against the Detroit Tigers. The Twins won the game 6-4. Odorizzi got a no-decision, pitching five innings, allowing two runs and four hits with four strikeouts and four walks.
Odorizzi earned a no-decision in his last start against Cleveland on May 31. He pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up eight runs (seven earned) and seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
In six career starts against Cleveland, Odorizzi is 1-2 with a 6.33 ERA.