Indians looking to keep momentum against Twins

Field Level Media

April 26, 2021 at 4:38 am.

The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians both experienced frustrating weekends to continue slow starts.

At least Cleveland can say it experienced an enjoyable time on Sunday and the Indians look to follow up a strong performance against the New York Yankees with another win Monday night when they host the Twins in the opener of a three-game series.

The Indians are seeking consecutive wins for the first time since four straight April 7-11. Since the four-game winning streak, Cleveland is 4-8 in its past 12 games, though it is coming off a 7-3 win over the Yankees on Sunday.

Cleveland salvaged the finale of a four-game series by rallying from a three-run deficit after scoring first in the previous three games with New York. The Indians produced their third-most runs of the season after entering Sunday with a .202 team average and thoroughly enjoyed a big day from Franmil Reyes, who hit a go-ahead three-run homer, fell a double shy of the cycle and got his first career stolen base.

“We needed to win this game,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “Franmil probably won’t lead the league in triples, but when he hits it, he runs. It’s kind of inspiring to me and I hope it is for everybody.”

Reyes is among Cleveland’s better hitters so far as he enters Monday hitting .286 with five homers and 14 RBIs. Over his last seven games, he is batting .370 (10-for-27) and is hitting .421 (16-for-38) with four homers and 11 RBIs in home games.

Projected as the favorites to the AL Central, Minnesota is 2-11 in its past 13 games since a 10-2 home win over the Seattle Mariners on April 8. The Twins lost two of three to the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates by scoring six runs and dropping a pair of 6-2 decisions after opening the series with a 2-0 win on Friday.

Minnesota scored 46 times in its first seven games but has been held to three runs or fewer 10 times in the last 13 games.

Despite the offensive struggles, manager Rocco Baldelli is confident his team will start playing better and is looking forward to the normal routine of night games on the road, especially after being forced to play three games in two days last week in Oakland and seeing two games against the Los Angeles Angels postponed due to COVID-19.

“We were actually looking forward to going on the road last time around because we were going to get a chance to play some night games, actually get on the field, get some work done, hit some BP and then we ended up in the hotel, so we weren’t able to get out there,” Baldelli said. “This time around, we’re looking forward to taking advantage of that.”

Jose Berrios (2-2, 3.00 ERA) starts for Minnesota and is coming off consecutive losses. He last pitched in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader in Oakland when he allowed one run and four hits in five innings of a 1-0 loss.

Berrios is 5-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 13 career starts against the Indians and is 3-0 with a 3.93 ERA in six career starts in Cleveland.

Zach Plesac (1-3, 6.75) starts for Cleveland and also is coming off consecutive losses. In his last two starts, he allowed 12 runs on 14 hits in 5 2/3 innings in consecutive losses against the Chicago White Sox.

Plesac’s only career start against the Twins occurred Sept. 12 in Minnesota when he allowed five runs on six hits, including three homers, in seven innings of an 8-4 loss.