The Indians host the struggling Twins at 7:10pm Friday night to begin a three game series at Progressive Field this weekend. The Twins have lost seven games in a row and stand at 8-25 for the season, a rate that would put them on pace for 123 losses this season. Game one starters tonight are Josh Tomlin (5-0, 3.72) for the Indians against the Twins’ Ricky Nolasco (1-1, 4.70).
The Twins certainly sputter into Progressive Field tonight, having lost 9 of their last 10, 12 of their last 15, and 16 of their last 20 and remain 14 games behind the division leading Chicago White Sox. The Twins futility is perhaps best summarized by their rank of dead last in the American League in runs, and next to last in the American League in ERA. Meanwhile, their 28 team home runs ranks ahead of just one team – your Cleveland Indians.
One of the few bright spots on offense this season for Minnesota has been utility man Eduardo Nunez. The 28-year-old Nunez is slashing .353/.398/.482 through 93 plate appearances while making starts at second base, shortstop and third base this season.
The Indians, meanwhile, were fortunate to have an off day after losing two of three in Houston including a 16 inning affair on Wednesday night that ended abruptly on a Marwin Gonzalez walk-off home run. The team begins a stretch of 14 games in 13 days that will test the team’s depth.
In transactional news, judging by the outpouring of support for the demoted Tyler Naquin, fans should be delighted to hear that he’s been recalled from Columbus for tonight’s game. Nyquin hit .315/.327/.426 in 55 plate appearances earlier this season before falling victim to a roster crunch when both Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall returned from the DL. Unfortunately, on the flip side of the transaction, it appears that Lonnie Chisenhall has left the team to return home to North Carolina following a death in the family. A player placed on bereavement must remain inactive for three to seven days.
Starting line-ups below: