The Tribe heads to Minneapolis today for a quick two-game series against the Minnesota Twins (10-24). Believe it or not, this is the first time the Indians have faced their division rivals this year—don’t worry, we’ll be well acquainted with them by the end of the season. For now, though, I talked to Puckett’s Pond Senior Editor Nate Gilmore to get an expert’s perspective on Cleveland’s next hosts.
Read Nate’s interview with me on Puckett’s Pond.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: It’s safe to say the Twins are off to a poor start. Did you expect things to go this badly for Minnesota?
NATE GILMORE: I did not. But I guess the national media did. It seems like every single sports news source predicted the Twins to finish last place, so it’s starting to look like they were right. I had been thinking (wishfully) that many of the Twins’ problems were one year flukes that would be resolved this year. That wasn’t the case.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: Looks like contention is out of the question for the Twins this year. When do you expect them to get back to the playoffs?
NATE GILMORE: With a well-organized rebuilding plan, intelligent trades and free agent moves, and emphasis on minor league development, the Twins should be able to make some noise in 2014 or 2015. But they have been anything but well-organized and intelligent lately, so I fear it may take longer.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: Is there anything in particular that Minnesota fans are looking forward to seeing from this team the rest of the season?
NATE GILMORE: I can’t speak for everyone, but I look forward to seeing some young players emerge, both in the Majors and the minors. Brian Dozier is one highlight who just joined the Big League club. He seems to know what he’s doing at shortstop so far. Down at Class A ball, Miguel Sano is keeping a lot of Twins fans from giving up hope. He hit his 11th homer of the season Sunday.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: Who’s pitching for the Twins and what should Tribe fans expect from them?
NATE GILMORE: Carl Pavano starts the opener, and I’m sure Tribe fans know what to expect from him. In some ways, he is the same pitcher he was back in 2009 – a groundball guy who can be expected to put a lot of balls in play. But he has lost a lot of velocity this season, and too many of his fastballs have been in the 85 mph range. I fear there may be an injury of some sort.
Jason Marquis starts Tuesday, and the Indians can expect to get a lot of hits and score plenty of runs. Enjoy!
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: What’s your prediction for the series?
NATE GILMORE: Maybe I’m an optimist, but I’ll predict a split, with the Twins winning Monday and the Indians taking Tuesday’s game.