Indians take on Twins in quick three-game homestand
After ending a losing road trip on a positive note, the Cleveland Indians return home looking to continue their season success over the Minnesota Twins.
Trying for a third consecutive victory, the Indians aim to keep the Twins from winning back-to-back games for the first time in nearly three weeks on Friday night.
Cleveland went 3-4 on a trip to Seattle and Anaheim, but won the final two games against the Los Angeles Angels to regain some confidence and build momentum for this three-game weekend homestand.
“When you win, that means you did enough things right,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The Indians have done enough right while taking six of their last eight at home. That included two wins in three games over Minnesota last month. Cleveland star Jose Ramirez homered twice in that series, and enters this set 7-for-16 with four doubles and a home run during his five-game hitting streak.
Scheduled Indians starter Triston McKenzie (1-2, 5.79 ERA) hopes for a better effort after he allowed five runs, five hits — two homers — and three walks over 4 1/3 innings of a 7-3 loss to the Mariners on Saturday. The right-hander’s 25 walks issued this season rank among the most in the majors.
“I feel like I’m not necessarily doing my job,” McKenzie, who pitched five scoreless innings during his previous start at Kansas City, told the Indians’ official website. “Or, I’m doing a disservice to my teammates. I feel like I’m showing flashes of putting together good starts, and then I’m letting them down and walking guys and putting myself in bad positions.”
McKenzie walked only one in his only start versus Minnesota, but yielded five runs on three homers, including one to Nelson Cruz, over 4 1/3 innings of a 7-5 loss on Sept. 13, 2020.
Miguel Sano struck out both times he’s faced McKenzie, but has homered five times and recorded 11 RBIs in his last seven games. After Minnesota fell 7-1 in Game 1 of Thursday’s road doubleheader against the Angels, Sano’s first-inning grand slam proved all the Twins would need to pull out a 6-3 victory in the nightcap.
“(Sano’s) been working at it,” Twins assistant coach Bill Evers said. “Diligent work. He’s been working his tail off. It’s been fun.”
Minnesota is 4-12 since beating Kansas City and Texas on May 2-3, respectively. The Twins, however, could be a little weary after finishing a three-game home series with the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, then traveling to play two in Southern California on Thursday and flying to Cleveland for this series opener.
That schedule, and some injuries, have left the Twins rotation somewhat in flux. According to the Star Tribune, Randy Dobnak (0-3, 8.16 ERA) is expected to be called up from Triple-A St. Paul to make his first start of 2021 on Friday. The right-hander last pitched for the big club on May 1, but was sent down the next day.
Dobnak is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in five career games — three starts — versus Cleveland.
Twins infielder Jorge Polanco exited the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader due to ankle soreness, leaving his status for this contest uncertain.
–Field Level Media