When and where: July 12, 2019, Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH, 7:10 PM ET Business picks up immediately on the other side of the All-Star break with a much-anticipated clash between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians. The Indians are rolling into the second half of the season on a six-game winning streak, while the Twins have lost four of their last seven games. Mike Clevinger is expected to start things out on the mound for the Indians against Twins right-handed pitcher Kyle Gibson.
Twins are the real deal
Few would have predicted the Twins would be sitting behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Houston Astros with the fourth-best record in baseball. Yet, the same team that didn’t even finish 2018 with a winning record and missed the playoffs is currently sitting at the top of the AL Central division. They’ve hung on long enough to be respected as a legitimate contender. That isn’t to say the Indians can’t go on a run and overtake their No. 1 spot.
The Twins will have to keep the momentum going to maintain their five-game lead. There is still plenty of baseball left to play. Not to mention the hopes of an entire city riding on a second playoff berth for the Twins in nine seasons. Gibson gets the green light to start things off on the mound on Friday. He is throwing a 4.09 ERA with an 8-4 record. Along with a pair of one-inning appearances, including serving as an opener in a recent outing against the Texas Rangers, he pitched six innings against the Oakland Athletics, who finished with five hits and three earned runs in the road meeting.
Indians aren’t dead yet
Don’t go digging a hole in the dirt for the Indians in the AL Central divisional race just yet. After winning the divisional title the last three straight seasons, things have seemed a bit stale for the Indians in the first half of 2019. The Twins essentially got off to such a great start the Indians were left choking on their smoke. However, the smoke is dying down, and the Indians are slowly climbing their way back into the race.
Ahead of the All-Star break, they managed to win six straight games and cut into the lead, putting them five games out from first place. A series win over the Twins would put them back in the conversation with the rest of the championship contenders. Of course, they’ll have to play to their strengths and be more consistent defensively if they have any hope of changing the narrative. Clevinger (4.44 ERA), who has missed most of the season with injuries, will be the first man on the mound for the Indians in Friday’s game against the Twins. He is still trying to work himself into a rhythm since returning in mid-June. After a pair of bad performances, he looked much better in his recent outing against the Kansas City Royals, who he held scoreless for six innings, while striking out nine batters.
- Twins are 5-0 in Gibsons last 5 starts when their opponent scores 5 runs or more in the previous game.
- Twins are 8-1 in Gibsons last 9 starts following an outing of less than 4 innings in his last appearance.
- Twins are 16-5 in their last 21 after scoring 2 runs or less in the previous game.
- Twins are 23-8 in their last 31 when their opponent scores 5 runs or more in the previous game.
- Indians are 2-9 in Clevingers last 11 starts against a team with a winning record.
- Indians are 1-5 in Clevingers last 6 home starts against a team with a winning record.
- Indians are 2-10 in Clevingers last 12 starts during game 1 of a series.
- Indians are 1-5 in Clevingers last 6 Friday starts.