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Tribe, Twins clash

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Cleveland vs. Minnesota (8:10 p.m. ET)

24 hours after a determined comeback effort to salvage one game vs. the Angels in their series, the Cleveland Indians hear out on the road for three series, beginning in Minnesota tonight.

Yesterday’s win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Indians and it was one that saw them lose four straight to division rival Detroit. Those losses stung as it took them right out of striking distance in the American League Central as the Indians find themselves seven games behind the Tigers for 1st entering tonight’s action. But if Cleveland does want to get back in contention – they are four games out of the top wildcard spot – beating up on weaker teams like Minnesota is a must.

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The Twins are a team that can’t really decide between the present and the future as they kept their tradable assets at the deadline (Justin Morneau), unwilling to go into full-blown rebuild mode. They are well out of the pennant race this year but have got to be feeling good about themselves after taking three of four vs. the White Sox over the weekend. The problem is that the White Sox are about the only team (besides Houston) that are worse than Minnesota this year.

The Twins took two of three from the Indians here in Minnesota in late July and have posted a 4-5 mark vs. Cleveland this year. None of those games featured the two young pitchers we will see tonight and while that may help the underdog Twins in this role, Cleveland is just a much better team to have this opportunity pass them by.

Cleveland needs to use yesterday’s comeback performance to jumpstart another win streak and with three of the next four series’ against sub-500 teams (Minnesota x2, LAA), this is their chance to try and put some pressure on the Tigers again.

Young Danny Salazar has been good in his two starts for the Indians so far as his one loss came in a tight 6-5 game vs. Detroit last week. Despite the loss, Salazar did strike out 10 batters in 7.2 innings of work but was burned by the long-ball twice before the bullpen blew it in extra innings. When you can have success like that against a loaded Tigers lineup, facing the lowly Twins should be a much easier task and I believe it will be.

The Indians are 4-0 SU in their last four as road favorites of -150 or less and are on a run of 7-0 SU away from home against south-paws. In fact, Cleveland is 13-3 SU in their last 16 games against a lefty starter and won’t let Andrew Alberts dominate like he did in his debut vs. KC.


  
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