Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians series preview
By Chris Schad
The Minnesota Twins have a crucial three-game showdown with the Cleveland Indians in their first series after the All-Star break beginning Friday night.
Throughout the first half of the season, the Minnesota Twins have felt comfortable on top of the American League Central division. Almost leading from wire-to-wire, the Twins have seen their lead atop the division balloon up to 11 1/2 games and the Indians never seemed like a threat to the point where there were rumors of Cleveland waving the white flag at the trade deadline.
Just as the Twins seemed to have a chokehold on the division, the Indians began to heat up. Cleveland has put together a record of 22-8 in their past 30 games and has gone from being 29-30 to 50-38 at the All-Star break. At the same time, the Twins haven’t played poorly, but they have cooled off with a record of 16-14 during that stretch.
Those two stretches intertwined to shrink the Twins lead in the AL Central down to 5 1/2 games coming out of the All-Star break, which sets up a massive series at Progressive Field. With 13 games remaining between the two teams, this won’t completely decide the division, but give one team a little extra momentum opening the second half.
If the Twins can take two of three games from Cleveland, they can open up their cushion and turn their attention to an upcoming tour of the division which begins around the beginning of August through the end of the season. If the Indians take the series or even earn a sweep, they’ll be more in the division race than ever.
In other words, the time is now for the Twins to put their stamp on the American League Central.