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2021 Series #14 | Twins @ Indians | May 21-23, 2021

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Wham with the Right Hand

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Baseball's most disappointing team so far, the Minnesota Twins, stagger into town with a 15-28 record, having lost 12 of their last 16 games. The Twins are 7-13 on the road and are in last place in the A.L. Central, trailing even the Detroit Tigers. The Twins have the worst winning percentage in the A.L. and are ahead of only the Rockies for the worst overall record.

On top of that they are missing their best player so far in Byron Buxton and they have played 11 games in the last ten days, including a double-header in Anaheim yesterday. The second game ended at 10 p.m. Eastern time. They probably got into town this morning at about 4 a.m.

The Twins on the season are slightly above average offensively, ranking 7th in runs per game and on-base percentage and 6th in wRC+. They rank 2nd in home runs per 9 innings. They're built more on power than speed with guys like Cruz, Donaldson, and Sano in the lineup.

Buxton was hitting .370/1.180 when he incurred a hip strain which will keep him out for a few weeks. In the late April series in Minnesota Buxton destroyed Cleveland pitching to the tune of 7-for-11 with two HR's and two doubles. His absence will be a huge factor.

Nelson Cruz went 5-for-12 against the Tribe in April. Overall his numbers are good at .292/.878. However, he's hitting .268/.853 against RHP's and you can bet he won't see a lefty this weekend. Also, after putting up an OPS of 1.037 in April he's come down to .250/.698 in May. Cruz is extremely dangerous but he only has three HR's in his last 22 games after hitting seven in his first 20.

Josh Donaldson has respectable overall numbers but he's hitting .227 against RHP's and .238 in May.

Miguel Sano is hitting .176 on the season but is heating up with a .901 OPS in May. He has four HR's and a double in his last four games. He is probably their most dangerous guy right now with Buxton out and both Cruz and Donaldson tailing off and struggling against RHP's.

Luis Arraez is hitting .276/.699, which is below his norm. Other than that they don't have anybody that's been real impressive with the bat, although both catchers can hurt you if you make a mistake.

Pitching is the Twins Achilles heel. They're 14th in ERA, 12th in WHIP, and last in the A.L. in home runs per 9 innings. Their relievers are a little better, ranking 7th in xFIP. Their starters rank 13th. Their best starter has been Michael Pineda, who is injured. Their second best is Jose Berrios, who pitched yesterday and will miss this series. They're not sending their best people.

Tonight McKenzie faces Randy Dobnak, making his first start of the year after seven relief appearances. Dobnak was a starter last year, going 6-4 with a 4.05 ERA. I assume he will be on a pitch count. He's only thrown 14.1 innings in those seven appearances with a 8.16 ERA. He's allowed 18 hits and 4 home runs in those 14 innings. Obviously his problem has been the home runs.

Saturday it's Bieber against Kenta Maeda, who the Indians beat in April, scoring four runs in 5.2 innings. He was victimized for three home runs in that game, two by La Mole. I'm sure Reyes will be in the lineup hitting 4th on Saturday. Maeda managed to induce 14 ground balls in only 5+ innings, so the Cleveland hitters need to get the ball in the air against him.

Maeda was awful in April but has a 3.77 ERA in three May starts, so he's actually been pretty good lately. Hopefully Bieber shuts them down and we get a couple more dingers off this cagey 33-year-old. But all that breaking stuff can be frustrating. He owned the Indians last year (0.50 ERA in 18 innings).

Sunday it's Plesac against another older, soft-tosser, this time lefty J.A. Happ, who frustrated the Indians for seven innings in the April series, allowing two runs. Happ started the season like a house afire, mowing through Detroit, Pittsburgh, Texas, Boston, and Cleveland to the tune of a 1.91 ERA after five starts. But he's been lit up like a house fire his last two starts, both against the White Sox, allowing 15 runs in 7 innings. The Sox were having none of the junk he throws. Hopefully the Indians took the day off yesterday to watch some video and see how the Sox were approaching him. Not chasing bad pitches early in the count probably was part of it.

So will we get the Happ that dominated weaker offenses early or the one who was totally solved by the White Sox in his last two starts? Also, Plesac was a little off in his last start, giving up three dingers and five runs in seven innings in Anaheim. He needs to get back on track. We shouldn't count the home run to Ohtani, though, on a 94 mph fastball at the armpits. That was sick.

McKenzie got lit up in his last start so I'm looking for him to bounce back tonight and get us off on the right foot. Dobnak probably won't go more than four innings and the Twins bullpen could be a little light after their doubleheader yesterday, so the opportunity for the Tribe to score some runs will be there, especially after a day off which should help Cesar and Josie who have been playing every day.
 
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Impatiently waiting Owen Miller’s promotion.
 
Randy Dobnak has faced the indians in four separate outings.. the last being in 2020 when he held the tribe to 2 hits with 4 K's / 2 BB's over five innings.. no runs.. Overall, he's pitched 16 innings giving up a paltry 3 runs... This is another one of these pitchers that seem to give the Indians hitters fits. They're caught in between and can't seem to adjust by going/taking the pitch the other way.. if they can tonight.. this should be a high scoring event.. Stopping the Twins from teeing off on McStix... is going to take better use of his fastball..and better placement.. This series is like so many w/ teams playing tough in their own division.. We'll see.. It should be steamy and warm at the ballpark tonight for our first game of the season.. !
 

Can anyone explain why Owen Miller isn't playing here? Does Jake Bauers get to play until 2026?

This is so freaking stupid.
 

Can anyone explain why Owen Miller isn't playing here? Does Jake Bauers get to play until 2026?

This is so freaking stupid.
My guess is that with Rosario and Bauers swinging the bats better, they're going to let them man SS and 1B most days while Eddie/Harold/Josh patrol the OF with Luplow obviously in the mix once his ankle heals up.

I'm intrigued to see Miller up here as well, but I also don't want to see him playing in a part-time role.
 
My guess is that with Rosario and Bauers swinging the bats better, they're going to let them man SS and 1B most days while Eddie/Harold/Josh patrol the OF with Luplow obviously in the mix once his ankle heals up.

I'm intrigued to see Miller up here as well, but I also don't want to see him playing in a part-time role.
I have a really hard time believing that Jake Bauers has earned every day ABs. He's rocking a 70 WRC+, does anyone with two eyes and brain cells to rub together think that Owen Miller wouldn't outperform that number?

They don't have to DFA the glorious Jake Bauers either, they can have him as a bench player.
 
My guess is that with Rosario and Bauers swinging the bats better, they're going to let them man SS and 1B most days while Eddie/Harold/Josh patrol the OF with Luplow obviously in the mix once his ankle heals up.

I'm intrigued to see Miller up here as well, but I also don't want to see him playing in a part-time role.
Play him every day and that problem is solved.
 
Does this organization hate what's left of its fanbase?

Shoving Bauers down our throat while having Owen Miller spend his nights in Toledo feels like a middle finger to the fans.
 
I agree with Derek: I would rather have Yu Chang play infrequently at the MLB than Owen Miller
All that said I would prefer Miller playing regularly (ie 75% plus) in MLB than in AAA Columbus.

And yes Andrew, it would take a DFA of Bauers (or someone else) to get Miller up here since he is not on the 40 man roster. Or making a different move the FO is trying to avoid.

This FO has made a lot more moves correct than incorrect. I do not agree with every decision made, but I can give credit where it is due. I encourage others to do the same.
 
I agree with Derek: I would rather have Yu Chang play infrequently at the MLB than Owen Miller
All that said I would prefer Miller playing regularly (ie 75% plus) in MLB than in AAA Columbus.

And yes Andrew, it would take a DFA of Bauers (or someone else) to get Miller up here since he is not on the 40 man roster. Or making a different move the FO is trying to avoid.
Not true, you could send Vargas to the 60 day DL.
 
I have a really hard time believing that Jake Bauers has earned every day ABs. He's rocking a 70 WRC+, does anyone with two eyes and brain cells to rub together think that Owen Miller wouldn't outperform that number?

They don't have to DFA the glorious Jake Bauers either, they can have him as a bench player.
The Tito infatuation with Jake Bauers needs to be sent to a grand jury for investigation. You hit the nail on the head. Anybody that thinks Bauers gives the Indians a better chance to win over Miller should see a shrink.

Don't the Indians want to win?
 
I agree with Derek: I would rather have Yu Chang play infrequently at the MLB than Owen Miller
All that said I would prefer Miller playing regularly (ie 75% plus) in MLB than in AAA Columbus.

And yes Andrew, it would take a DFA of Bauers (or someone else) to get Miller up here since he is not on the 40 man roster. Or making a different move the FO is trying to avoid.

This FO has made a lot more moves correct than incorrect. I do not agree with every decision made, but I can give credit where it is due. I encourage others to do the same.
Miller could and should play every single day.
 
They've stuck with Bauers through some pretty shitty play. It would be shocking if they cut him loose now that he's actually playing decent.

Personally, I'm hoping that once Luplow is good to go on an everyday basis that they demote Harold, stick Rosario in CF, and let Miller take over at SS (at least for this year).
 

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