Series Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins

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The Indians are finally back to playing good solid baseball. It’s certainly a welcomed sight when you consider just how bad things had gotten there for a while. Unfortunately, the Indians get to welcome their own personal Kryptonite to Progressive Field for a three game series. Of course I’m talking about none other than the Minnesota Twins.

For whatever reason, the Twins just seem to have the Indians number. over the past two seasons. There;s not really much of an explanation for it either. It’s not as if the Twins are a team loaded with talent. They currently find themselves stuck in limbo. They have begun the process of turning over the roster and are a few years away from some seriously scary talent making it’s way to the big leagues, but they are also handicapped by a number of higher priced veteran players. While this isn’t the NBA and bottoming out in baseball in no way helps ensure an eventual turn around (Just ask the Pirates), remaining in limbo isn’t good for business either.

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Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that making such a turnaround often involves making difficult decisions. That means the Twins need to or should have already made decisions regarding players like Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, and Ryan Doumit. If they aren’t helping you win now and aren’t in the plans for the future, why bother keeping them around? Why not flip them for more talent that could help you later on down the line? Well, because this is a business and those players help ensure that at least a few butts make it into the seats at Target Field.

It’s for that reason I’m glad that I’m not a fan of the Twins. They are in a really difficult spot with no easy answers. From the outside looking in it is easy to say “Trade Mauer” or “Trade Morneau,” but rarely is a decision of that magnitude simple. Even more frustrating for Twins fans has to be Morneau’s pending free agency. If he leaves on his own this winter not trading him at the deadline will look even more foolish than it already does. But hey, a division rival not having the foresight to make a move like that to help themselves in the future helps the Indians so I probably shouldn’t complain too loudly.

The time to complain will come when Byron Buxton is running circles around the base paths and Miguel Sano is crushing taters into the stratosphere. As the two best prospects in the organization and two of the top prospects in all of baseball, a lot is riding on them to be the baseball saviors of the Twin Cities. But as previously mentioned, they aren’t quite there yet.

But, because the Twins failed to make any moves at the deadline they will be at or near full strength. That means they can not be easily over looked. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are both all-stars that can make things very difficult on opposing pitchers. Even the assortment of complimentary players like Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, Chris Parmalee and Pedro Florimon have all had their moments against the Indians this season. Limiting their impact may be just as important as limiting the impact of Morneau and Mauer because if they can get on base, it makes the big guys in the middle that much more difficult to stop.

Fortunately for the Indians, the Twins pitching staff is among  the worst in all of baseball, ranking near the bottom in virtually every major category. With the exception of all-star closer Glen Perkins, the Twins don’t offer anything much in the way of run prevention on the mound. Can the Indians, a team that has had it’s ups and downs offensively, take advantage of a pitching staff with glaring holes in it? Here’s hoping. Otherwise, it may be a long, long weekend down at Progressive Field.

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