The Cleveland Indians attempt to complete a three-game sweep of Minnesota on Wednesday while handing the Twins their 13th straigth loss.
The first two contests were one-run games with Cleveland winning 1-0 in 10 innings on Monday and 5-4 on Tuesday.
The Indians are expected to have a new player Wednesday as the club, according to multiple reports, has reached an agreement with the Oakland Athletics on a trade for outfielder Coco Crisp. The official announcement will be made Wednesday. It’s not known whether Crisp will be in uniform for Wednesday’s game, or Friday for the start of a three-game series with Miami at Progressive Field.
In winning the first two games of the Minnesota series, the Indians received good work from their bullpen, particularly Tuesday. Struggling starter Josh Tomlin was removed in the second inning, but five relievers combined to pitch 7 1/3 scoreless innings on three hits.
“That’s a lot to ask of your bullpen, but we found a way to win,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Although the acquisition of Andrew Miller in a trade with the Yankees a month ago still gets most of the attention, right-hander Dan Otero has been an equally important member of the bullpen. Otero got the win Tuesday, pitching 2 2/3 scoreless and hitless innings, with three strikeouts and no walks. In 50 appearances this year, he is 4-1 with a 1.25 ERA.
“He’s like a wildcard for us out there,” Francona said. “He can pitch anywhere, and all he does is gets outs. That’s really valuable.”
The Twins, meanwhile, would just like to win a game in order to avoid making some unwanted history. The Twins’ 12-game losing streak is the third-longest in team history. The team record is 14 set in 1982.
Not even a sensational season by Brian Dozier is enough to make Twins manager Paul Molitor forget about the fact that the team has gone two weeks without a win.
Dozier homered on the first pitch Tuesday, giving him 12 home runs in August. That’s the most home runs in a month by a Twins player since Harmon Killebrew hit 12 in July 1969.
“That’s nice, but now is not the time to consider what individuals have done. Not when we’re trying to get out of this (losing) streak,” Molitor said.
The pitching matchup Wednesday features Cleveland’s Corey Kluber versus Pat Dean (1-4, 6.24).
Kluber (14-8, 3.07 ERA) hasn’t lost a game since July 3. In nine starts since, he is 7-0 with a 1.75 ERA. In 16 career starts versus the Twins, he is 6-5 with a 3.76 ERA after a 6-3 loss in mid-May when he gave up four runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Dean (1-4, 6.24) makes his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester. In his last start Aug. 26 at Toronto, he was the losing pitcher in a 15-8 loss to the Blue Jays. He gave up six runs on eight hits, including two home runs.