As the most important series of the season have come and passed, the Indians have went 1-6 over the last seven. This has made the Indians playoff situation look a lot less positive, but still possible. The Tribe now goes to Minnesota to face the Twins who were the team that started the Indians second half off poorly with a series loss.
The Indians have three more series against the Twins this year (10 total games) so their performance against Minnesota will be absolutely integral to their playoff chances. In the ultimate scheme of things, to come back and win the AL Central, the Twins would need to win about eight of those ten games.
Game 1: Monday, August 12th 8:10 PM EDT
Danny Salazar, RHP, 1-0, 3.29 ERA vs Andrew Albers, LHP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Just a few weeks ago, two of these three pitching match-ups couldn't be imagined. In this game, the Indians will go with Salazar, making his second start in a row after replacing Corey Kluber in the rotation. Salazar has been solid in both his starts this year, although he did blow his last game when he gave up a home run to Miguel Cabrera to give up the lead. The Twins don't have a Cabrera caliber player, so those failures should be behind him.
Albers will also be making his second start after replacing Scott Diamond in the rotation. Like Salazar, Albers was dominating, throwing 8.1 shut out innings against the Royals. Albers was able to keep the ball in play without getting into trouble, allowing just four hits while striking out only two.
Game 2: Tuesday, August 13th 8:10 PM EDT
Zach McAllister, RHP, 4-7, 3.90 ERA vs Sam Deduno, RHP, 7-5, 3.38 ERA
McAllister seems to be back to his old self with just a hiccup in his last start against Detroit. The two previous starts he threw 13.1 innings and allowed just four earned runs. If he can keep the Twins to that average, it will at least give the Indians hitters a chance to learn how to hit Deduno. As of now, only four players on the Indians roster has been able to hit successfully against the old second year player and nonw of those players have knocked in more than a single run.
Game 3: Wednesday, August 14th 1:10 PM EDT
Carlos Carrasco, RHP, 0-4, 7.75 ERA vs Kyle Gibson, RHP, 2-3, 6.43 ERA
Scott Kazmir is day to day and Carrasco will take over this start after pitching very well through the final five games in game one against Los Angeles. He had made six starts prior to that point and this five inning appearance was still his best outing of the year. Maybe it was enough to get him back on track as he has allowed at least six runs in four of his six starts.
Gibson is the Twins second rookie that will be starting a game this series. He has had a slightly longer stint in the Majors this year than Albers, but hasn't had a single game as dominant as Albers' debut. Somehow he has managed to avoid Cleveland through his first eight starts, but he will be removed from the safety of playing other teams as this time around he can't avoid the Tribe.