jameshowardthome

Series Preview: Twins at Indians

Minnesota Twins at a glance:

21-37 record on the year; fourth place in the American League Central Division. They are 13 games in-back of the Indians in the loss column. They have won four games in a row, coming off a four-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals. Before that series, the Twins were swept by the Tigers in a three game series.

Tribe Killer(s):

Justin Morneau: Hitting .289 with four home-runs, 11 walks and a .375 OBP in his career vs. the Tribe.

Francisco Liriano:  The Indians have struck out 31 times in 97 at-bats while hitting only one home-run (Asdrubal Cabrera).

Injuries:

  • OF/DH Jason Kubel (sprained left foot) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 31.

  • DH Jim Thome (strained left quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list June 2.

  • LHP Francisco Liriano (left shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23. An MRI found no structural damage, and he is scheduled to start for the Twins on June 7.

  • RHP Joe Nathan (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 24. An MRI found no structural damage, and he expects to return by late June.

  • INF Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken left leg) went on the 15-day disabled list April 8. He was working out in Fort Myers, Fla., in early May, and he started sprinting May 16. He began playing in extended spring training games in late May. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 28, but he still could return by mid-June.

  • RHP Kevin Slowey (strained abdominal muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 21. He was working out in extended spring training in early June.

  • LHP Glen Perkins (strained oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He played long-toss May 31, and he hopes to be activated today.

  • C Joe Mauer (bilateral leg weakness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 13, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 2. He began throwing and swinging a bat May 4, and he began rehabbing in extended spring training May 18. He began serving as a designated hitter in extended spring training games May 24, as he was unable to catch due to a sore shoulder. He began catching in extended spring training June 2.

Current Roster:

Rotation:

RHP Carl Pavano

RHP Nick Blackburn

LHP Brian Duensing

RHP Scott Baker

RHP Anthony Swarzak

Bullpen:

RHP Matt Capps (closer)

LHP Phil Dumatrait

RHP Alex Burnett

RHP Jim Hoey

LHP Chuck James

LHP Jose Mijares

RHP Anthony Slama

Catchers:

Drew Butera

Rene Rivera

Infielders:

1B Justin Morneau

2B Michael Cuddyer

SS Matt Tolbert

3B Danny Valencia

INF Alexi Casilla

INF Luke Hughes

INF/OF Brian Dinkelman

Outfielders:

LF Delmon Young

CF Denard Span

RF Ben Revere

OF Jason Repko

News/Notes:

  • RHP Carl Pavano won his 100th career game on Friday night, though it took him seven attempts to get from 99 to 100. Pavano gave up two runs on nine hits while pitching his first complete game of the season. It was his first win since April 24. He’s now 3-5 with a 4.83 ERA and is one of 31 active pitchers, according to STATS Inc., with at least 100 wins.

  • SS Trevor Plouffe, sent to Class AAA Rochester on Thursday to make room for OF/INF Brian Dinkelman on the 25-man roster, has had plenty of problems with his defense since the Twins drafted him in the first round in 2004, and on Friday manager Ron Gardenhire said the team is thinking about having Plouffe play elsewhere, possibly in the outfield.

  • C Joe Mauer went 2-for-5 with a walk and two singles as the designated hitter in a spring training game on Thursday. He also grounded into a double play. He was scheduled to catch five innings in an extended spring game Saturday, and general manager Bill Smith told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Thursday that the hope is to send Mauer out on an official rehab assignment “within the next week or so.”

  • INF  rookie Tsuyoshi Nishioka played seven innings in an extended spring training game on Friday. He has reported nothing more than soreness the last several days, but Gardenhire said Nishioka, out since April 7 with a fractured left fibula, is still not ready to begin an official rehab assignment.

  • LHP Glen Perkins was scheduled to play long toss Saturday and, if that went well, throw a bullpen session on Sunday. Perkins, one the Twins’ most reliable relievers this season, has been on the disabled list since May 22 with a right oblique strain. He is eligible to return June 6, and team trainer Dave Pruemer said that how Perkins does Sunday will determine whether the lefty needs a rehab stint.

Pitching matchups:

Tonight at 7:05: RHP Josh Tomlin (7-2, 3.27 ERA) vs. RHP Scott Baker (2-4, 3.86)

Baker threw seven scoreless innings Friday against the Angels, but got a no-decision when the Minnesota bullpen blew a 5-0 lead. (Fri May 27).  Baker had six strikeouts and no walks as he continues to improve his strikeout numbers. He’s actually second among AL starters in strikeouts per innings pitched with 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Despite his 3.65 ERA, he may not get many wins since right now no lead is safe with Minnesota’s struggling bullpen.

Tomorrow night at 7:05: RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-3, 5.18) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (3-5, 5.73)

Liriano (shoulder) felt pain-free playing catch last Thursday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. He also had a successful bullpen session on Saturday and will come off the disabled list to pitch against the Tribe on Tuesday night. Liriano has not been the ace that the team expected coming into the season. Despite the no-hitter that he threw on May 3 against the White Sox (where he walked six and struck out only two), he has not dominated. Here is a link to a very good article about Liriano: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/04/13/what-happens-when-francisco-liriano-pitches-to-contact/

Wednesday afternoon at 12:05: RHP Justin Masterson (5-4, 3.28) vs. RHP Carl Pavano (3-5, 4.83)

Carl Pavano. Eight million dollars a year. Enough said.

 

Former Indian (and current Tribe killer) Jim Thome.

This time, he is on the disabled list coming into town.

Photo courtest of Tony Dejak / Associated Press

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