Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Opposition Research: Paul Pleiss Talks Minnesota Twins

The Cleveland Indians return home from their miserable winless road trip tonight to face the team against whom their struggles started: the Minnesota Twins. So I talked to Paul Pleiss, editor of Puckett’s Pond, about what the Indians should expect from the Twinkies this time around, as well as Trevor Plouffe‘s power surge and Minnesota’s recent trades. 

The trade of Liriano was a hammer that Twins fans were just waiting to fall, and while the Twins almost gave him away, Terry Ryan took the best offer available. I wish Frankie renewed success, just not against the Twins. Escobar and Hernandez are probably C level prospects, although Escobar could play himself into a utility role with the Twins because of the lack of their infield depth.

Prior to the last game of the Twins/Red Sox series I was chatting with Babs over at KnuckleballsBlog about trading Danny Valencia.  We agreed that there was little to no market for him, but that if the Twins could get ANYTHING for him it would be a win. Babs went so far as to suggest just cutting him and chalking it up to addition by subtraction.

Thirty minutes later Danny Valencia was traded to the Red Sox for Jermais Pineda. Pineda is leading the GCL in BA which seems like a huge win for the Twins, but he’s 21 and beating up on 18/19 year old kids. I’ve never been a fan of Danny Valencia, and his minor league numbers seemed to suggest that his success in 2010 was an aberration. With only Trevor Plouffe left to man the hot corner for Minnesota, the Twins may look long and hard and bringing in a true 3B this off season.

  • Trevor Plouffe enters Sunday with a higher ISO (.261) than batting average (.259). Were you surprised by his power surge? Is his pop for real?

I was more than surprised by the power Trevor Plouffe displayed! I’m not sure anyone saw that coming, even Plouffe himself.  I personally don’t think the power is here to stay, I feel more it was an unbelievable (and unrepeatable) hot streak.  If Plouffe can retain the power and be a 20 HR guy he could find himself as the regular 3B for the Twins going into next season.

  • Give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Indians will see this week and your prediction for the series.

With the Indians having lost nine in a row (including three to the Twins) and Minnesota coming off a great series in Boston that saw the Twins win 3 of 4, I look for more of the same in this series.

I like Scott Diamond to pitch well again against the Indians lineup.  Although Diamond was tagged with the L in his last start against the White Sox, he went 7 1/3 and gave up only 3 runs.

In the second tilt the Twins will send Samuel Deduno to the mound. Deduno is 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA, but he’s given up a lot of free passes since getting called up to the rotation (20 BB in 29 innings). Deduno will be matched against Kluber who got knocked around by the Royals last week.  I once again look for Twins to win game 2.

Game three I see going the other way.  Brian Duensing has been inconsistent as a starter and seems to work much better from the pen.  Justin Masterson is coming off of back to back bad starts, but I think he’ll turn things around for the Tribe and halt the skid at 11 and will the Indians to victory to close the series.

Tags: Brian Duensing Eduardo Escobar Francisco Liriano Minnesota Twins Pedro Hernandez Samuel Deduno Scott Diamond Trevor Plouffe

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