Series Preview: Minnesota (June 1-3)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 29: Josh Willingham #16 of the Minnesota Twins reacts as Matt Capps #55 pours water on him after a three run home run walk off win against the Oakland Athletics on May 29, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Athletics 3-4 in a walk off. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The Indians, after losing a home series to Kansas City, look to get back on track with a series against the AL's worst team. Following this weekend, they'll be playing 19 out of the next 25 games on the road, so this is a key series for the injury-depleted Indians to take.

Team in a Box (click to enlarge)

Minnesota_june_1-3_medium

Even though the Twins have been almost mediocre record-wise in the last month, they still rank near the bottom of the league in many categories, especially in pitching. Although they walk the fewest batters per 9 in the league, that's mainly because the opposition is smacking the ball around the yard before the at-bat even get close to turning into a walk.

Typical Lineup

Pos. Player BA OBP SLG
CF Denard Span .302 .365 .402
RF Ben Revere .302 .343 .413
C Joe Mauer .296 .408 .408
LF Josh Willingham .276 .401 .564
1B Justin Morneau .244 .315 .535
DH Ryan Doumit .256 .336 .432
SS Brian Dozier .228 .247 .337
2B Alexi Casilla .246 .294 .325
3B Jamey Carroll .234 .320 .269

Of late, the Twins offense has been more productive, but they still have few power threats. Josh Willingham has been the club's best hitter by far, leading the team in home runs, doubles. slugging percentage, and walks. Yeah, he'd look good in left field for the Indians right about now. Second, short, and third base have been black holes all season for the Twins.

Projected Starters

Date Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
June 1 Carl Pavano 5.46 59.1 4.7 1.1 10.8
June 2 P.J. Walters 2.96 27.1 6.3 3.3 7.2
June 3 Scott Diamond 2.27 31.2 6.0 1.1 9.9

Gone from the rotation is Jason Marquis (8.47 ERA) and Nick Blackburn (8.37), and unfortunately the Indians will not face Francisco Liriano (7.20). Diamond and Walters have both been huge improvements over the pitchers they replaced, accumulating 8 Quality Starts between them in 9 attempts; the rest of the roster has 9 Quality Starts combined in 41 attempts.

The Twins, who for so long have relied on home-grown pitchers, throw out three starters that were grabbed from other organizations:

  • Pavano was traded for in 2009 (from Cleveland), and has since re-signed with the club twice.
  • Diamond was a Rule 5 pick before the 2011 season.
  • Walters was a minor-league free agent signing.

On the Shelf

  • RHP Nick Blackburrn (quad) - 15-Day DL
  • RHP Scott Baker (elbow) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery)
  • RHP Kyle Waldrop (elbow) - 15-Day DL

Unlike the Indians, the Twins have their position players healthy. Mauer and Morneau are both healthy and (relatively) productive, a rare occurrence in recent years.

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