Jul 18, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Indians vs Minnesota Twins Series Preview

The Minnesota Twins are fresh off a series with the Tampa Bay Rays, in which they found themselves swept by the AL East foe.  With the inner division, AL Central rival, Cleveland Indians coming to town over the next three days, the Twins need to put their best foot forward.

Still reeling from the three game losing streak put into place by Tampa Bay, the Twins find themselves at a defining series in their season.  Currently sitting at nine games below the .500 mark, another ugly series for the Twins could put them into the annual summer spiral.

Facing off with the Indians, both teams are coming in off a loss.  The Twins find themselves sitting at 5-5 through their last ten, while the Indians have won seven of their last 10 games.

Tonight’s opener of the series pits the Indians T.J. House against Kris Johnson for the Twins.  House has essentially been a quality start pitcher for the Indians, and has done well to keep them in a position to win games.  Johnson, after a decent first start against the Dodgers (outside of his walks), was roughed up against the Rockies on July 11.

For the middle game of the series, the Indians will recall fireballing rookie, Danny Salazar.  It will be his first start for the Indians since May 15, however, he has found success and a stronger handle on his command since his demotion.

Minnesota will likely be recalling Yohan Pino to face off against House.  While fans around Twins Territory have been clamoring for weeks to see Trevor May and Alex Meyer, it doesn’t look like Tuesday will be the day.  Samuel Deduno also appears to be sticking in the bullpen.

For the final game of the series, once promising prospect Trevor Bauer will go for the Indians, and he will face off with Kyle Gibson for the Twins.  Bauer has been up and down for most of the year, and Gibson will be looking to get back on track following an ugly outing against the Rays on Friday.

The Twins will need their offense to come alive for the first time in three games if they hope to have a shot against Cleveland.  Scoring only six runs over the three game set with Tampa Bay, the Twins need to put hits together.

An offense that found themselves consistently playing from behind, and next to no one stepping up, needs to rejuvenate itself.

For Josh Willingham and Kurt Suzuki, a strong push through the end of July is a must.  As the Twins will be looking to deal assets before the deadline, the better the two of them can perform in the next few weeks, the more bargaining power the Twins have.

Look for the Twins to take two games in the series with the Indians.  While Cleveland currently finds themselves in command of the second spot in the AL Central, the Twins have favorable matchups both in-game one and three of the series.

Tonight’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm cst.

Tags: Minnesota Twins

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