- Samuel Deduno (3-1, 3.26 ERA/4.36 SIERA) vs. Scott Kazmir (3-4, 5.89/3.99)
Deduno has pitched remarkably well in his last four starts. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of them. He’s 3-0 in those starts with an ERA of 1.80. However, it remains to be seen whether or not Deduno has been good, or just getting lucky. In those same four starts he’s surrendered 21 hits and issued eight walks so it isn’t like he has gone out and dominated the opposition. For the Indians, they will have to remain patient and work the counts. Deduno will definitely allow his fair share of base runners Can they take advantage?
Meanwhile, Scott Kazmir may be auditioning for his spot in the rotation. With Zach McAllister set to return soon from the DL and the emergence of both Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, he may be the odd man out. Even if he pitches well, it may not be enough to keep him out of the bullpen. He has been wildly inconsistent and unable to string together successful starts. If this doesn’t go well, look for him to potentially end up in the bullpen as a long reliever.
- P.J. Walters (2-2, 3.23/4.57) vs. Corey Kluber (5-4, 3.58/3.87)
In game two, P.J. Walters will start for the Twins. So far in 2013, Walters has been a solid pitcher even though he has only made five starts. In his defense, he wasn’t called up to the big league club until the end of May. In his five stars, he has yet to allow more than four runs and has kept the Twins in a position to win. In his last start, the Tigers did beat him up a bit. Walters lasted only 5.1 innings and allowed two home runs. Can he bounce back? We shall see.
On the hill for the Tribe will be Corey Kluber. I have to say, Kluber has been pretty awesome of late. In all honesty I probably owe him an apology for all the times I’ve blasted him for not being that good. Then again, maybe I need to keep the reverse jinx going. Kluber, you’re awful! There, we should be all set. But seriously, Kluber is red-hot right now having allowed one run over his last 16 innings of work against quality opponents. What can he do against a significantly weaker Twins team? Hopefully it’s more of the same.
- Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 6.11/4.84) vs. Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 8.40/5.14)
In the final game of the weekend, Mike Pelfrey will take the mound for the Twins. 2013 has been a tough year for Pelfrey. He’s 3-6, has an ERA over 6, and hasn’t been on the winning side of a decision since May 5 against the Indians. However, over the course of his last three starts Pelfrey has been better. While he hasn’t had a decision and posted a 4.66 ERA, he has pitched at least 6 innings in each and kept the games close. Of course, the opponents in each of those games were Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Chicago; not exactly the best teams in baseball at the moment. The Indians should be able to exact some revenge for their May 5 loss in this one.
Finally, the Indians will send Carlos Carrasco to the mound on Sunday following an impressive start on Monday against the Royals. In what was the best start of his big league career thus far, Carrasco went 7.1 Innings and allowed only one run. Unfortunately, he took a no decision, but it was an encouraging start. We’ve been waiting years for everything to finally click for Carrasco. Perhaps Monday’s start was just the first step in him finally harnessing his potential. He also has something at stake. Much like Kazmir, this start may be an audition for his spot in the rotation once McAllister comes back.
Player to Watch: Indians
Nick Swisher: Swisher is supposed to be back in the lineup this weekend after resting his sore shoulder much of this week. It will be interesting to see how the shoulder responds and whether or not Swisher can break out of his funk. If it doesn’t go well, don’t be surprised if Swisher makes a trip to the DL sometime next week. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
Player to Watch: Twins
Joe Mauer: Honestly, who else is worth watching on the Twins? Mauer is their star player and one of the best all around hitters in the game today. People blast him for his lack of power, but by doing so they are ignoring his amazing eye at the plate and his ability to use the entire field. Much like Joey Votto, he understands that baseball is about not making outs and he is one of the best in the business at it.