Minnesota left-hander Lewis Thorpe will make his first start since May and the Twins will look to try and win their fourth consecutive series as they face the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday afternoon in Minneapolis.
Thorpe (0-2, 3.86 ERA), sidelined for most of June and July with a strained left shoulder, last pitched for the Twins on May 20 against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. He started the first game of a doubleheader and allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits in four innings of a 7-1 loss.
The 25-year-old from Melbourne, Australia, is 0-1 with a 8.10 ERA in three career appearances (one start) against Cleveland. He has appeared in 23 games and started six of them in his major league career, compiling a 3-5 record and a 5.59 ERA.
Right-hander Zach Plesac (7-4, 4.64 ERA) will start the rubber game of the three-game series for the Indians. Plesac is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three career starts against Minnesota, and he came away with no decisions in two earlier starts against the Twins this season.
Cleveland bounced back from a 5-4, 10-inning walk-off loss to Minnesota in the Monday series opener to defeat the Twins 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Left fielder Daniel Johnson, promoted from Triple-A Columbus on Monday, hit a long two-run homer and had two hits Tuesday. Rookie right-hander Eli Morgan picked up his second major league victory by limiting the Twins to three singles and two walks over six shutout innings.
It was a nice bounce-back effort for Morgan (2-5), who had given up five runs in four innings in an eventual 17-0 loss to the Oakland A’s on Thursday.
“The big thing with the Oakland game was my fastball command,” said Morgan, who finished with eight strikeouts Tuesday and kept the Twins off balance with a mid-70s changeup. “It wasn’t where I wanted it. We talked to (catcher Wilson) Ramos today to make sure we established the outside corner. He did a fantastic job out there.”
So did Morgan, who struck out Jorge Polanco in the first inning at the end of a 16-pitch at-bat. He followed that up by working out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second inning by striking out Miguel Sano and then getting Rob Refsnyder to ground into a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
“With the bases loaded and no outs, ideally you’re looking at getting out of there with one (run),” Morgan said. “So getting out of there with zero was a bonus.”
“It’s crazy because being at the alternate site last year, I faced him a bunch of times and he carved me up,” said Johnson, whose 425-foot drive off Bailey Ober into the plaza behind the right field bleachers in the fifth inning turned out to be the game-winner. “Just to see him actually doing it, and not just against me, makes me feel better.”
The Indians also got key performances from the bullpen. James Karinchak gave up just one run after entering with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth, and Emmanuel Clase picked up his 17th save in impressive fashion, striking out two in a perfect ninth inning and hitting 100.3 mph or better nine times with cutters.
The 6-foot-9 Ober took the loss despite another impressive performance, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits over a career-high six innings.
“He’s pitching great,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s pitching probably better than he ever has in his life.”
–Field Level Media