Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins

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Pitching Matchups:

Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

In game one the Twins will send their ace, Carl Pavano, to the mound. So far this season Pavano has been victim of Minnesota’s anemic offense. His record sits at 2-3, yet in 4 of his 7 starts the Twins have scored three or fewer runs. However you like to judge pitchers, that type of meager run support any pitcher is going to struggle to put up wins on a consistent basis. Could Pavano be better? Certainly he could, but since his stats appear to be in line with his stats over the last three seasons (ERA excluded) it’s hard to make a case that he’s really fallen apart. He’s doing his job. The Twins’ offense, on the other hand, is not.

Meanwhile, the Indians will send Jeanmar Gomez to the mound in hopes that he will rebound after a poor start his last time out. In that outing he gave up eight earned runs over the course of 6.2 innings against the White Sox. It was Gomez’ first and only poor performance so far in 2012, so there is little cause for concern. Given how the Indians ended their series versus Boston, it’s imperative that Gomez comes out guns blazing and keeps the Twins’ bats at bay. The Indians need him to come up big.

The Twins will send the newly acquired Jason Marquis to the mound in game two. This is Marquis’ first stint with an American League club after he’d spent all of his career in the National League. So far the results have not been good: he’s averaging a little over five innings per start, his strikeout rate is down to a career-worst 8.3 percent, and as his ERA would suggest he’s not doing much to help keep the light-hitting Twins in games. While he’s still been effective ground ball pitcher, his BABIP suggests that those grounders are finding holes in ways they never did before. It’s hard to say what the Twins really expected out of Marquis in 2012, but odds are they expected a greater return on their investment than they have seen so far.

For the Indians, Derek Lowe will take the mound looking to continue what has been an incredible 180 from where he was last year in Atlanta. After winning just nine games in 2011, Lowe is already more than halfway there midway through May (he didn’t win his fifth game of the season for Atlanta until July 5). Crazy how things can turn around. If not for Lowe and hits lights-out performances it’s hard to say where the Indians would stand. Certainly they wouldn’t be in first place. Either way, Lowe has easily been one of the best pickups in recent Indians memory.

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Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera Carl Pavano Derek Lowe Jason Kipnis Jason Marquis Jeanmar Gomez Joe Mauer Josh Willingham Minnesota Twins

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