On Tuesday, the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins will play game two of a three-game series. The Indians will be looking to get back on the winning side of things following a walk-off loss on Monday night.
On Monday night, Shane Bieber started for the Indians but ended up getting a no-decision and the team dropped the series opener following a Mitch Garver walk-off double to left center. The Indians have run into some trouble within the last week, losing 4 of their last 7 games. Coming into Tuesday’s game the Indians hold a 57-48 record in the AL Central and lead the division by 8 games over the Twins. The Twins stand at 49-56 on the season.
Here’s a look at the breakdown for today’s series finale with the Twins.
Date: Tuesday, July 31
Time: 8:10 p.m. ET
Location: Target Field — Minneapolis, Minnesota
Starting Pitchers: CLE – Trevor Bauer (9-6, 2.32) vs Minnesota – Kyle Gibson (5-7, 3.42)
TV Channel: SportsTime Ohio
Online Stream: MLB.TV
Radio: ALT 99.1, AM WTAM 1100 and WMMS 100.7
Click the next pages for a preview of tonight’s battle in Minnesota.
1.) Continue to Beat up on AL Central Foes
The Indians took 2 of 3 games against the Detroit Tigers this past weekend and have dropped the first game against Minnesota to begin their three-game series. The Indians have a record of 30-15 this year against AL Central opponents and need to continue their success to clinch an early playoff berth for the 2018 Playoffs.
I know to mention the Playoffs at the end of July is a bit absurd but it is a strong possibility the Indians can clinch the division in early September if they beat up on divisional opponents; especially with the Twins being 8 games back to end July.
If the Indians clinch their berth early on, the team can essentially coast and be well rested heading into the hopes of a better playoff run compared to the 2017 season.
Crazy to think about but keep in the back of your mind Tribe fans.
2.) Bauer Needs to Continue Winning July Ways
Bauer will be making his sixth start in the month of July on Tuesday night against the Twins. In the month of July, the Indians have won in 4 out of the 5 starts in which Bauer started, although Bauer is only 2-0 he has set the team up for success most of the time.
The Indians starting pitcher had one difficult start in July and that was following the All-Star Break against the Texas Rangers. Bauer only pitched 4.0 innings, gave up 9 hits, 4 earned runs, walked 5 batters, and struck out 7 Rangers hitters.
Outside of that start against the Rangers, Bauer has pitched in 29.2 innings, has given up 19 hits, 3 earned runs, 8 walks, and has 37 strikeouts.
Bauer will be making his second start against the Twins on Tuesday night. In his previous outing on June 2, Bauer pitched in 5.2 innings, gave up 6 hits, 3 earned runs (7 total), 3 walks, and 11 strikeouts. Bauer fell to 4-4 on the season following the 7-1 loss.
Needless to say, he will be looking to bounce back from that loss.
3.) Indians Looking to Finish Out July Strong
The Cleveland Indians since being under the tutelage of Terry Francona from 2013 have always been known as a second-half team. Cleveland will be looking to finish out the month of July 14-10, and currently, stand at 13-10 on the month.
Since the All-Star Break, the Indians are 5-5 but the break wasn't long ago so it is a small sample size. The Indians have encountered some injury problems with Bradley Zimmer, Lonnie Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin, and Andrew Miller going down throughout the year but Miller is expected to return, although he has been struggling a bit in his rehab appearances.
During the month, Cleveland has had 4 games out of their 23 consisting of them scoring 10 or more runs. Scoring 10 or more twice against the Oakland Athletics (1st and 6th), the Cincinnati Reds (11th), and the Texas Rangers (21st).