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Twins Insider

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Postgame: Light's turnaround good sign for Twins bullpen, Molitor hopes

    CLEVELAND — Three extras from a somber Twins clubhouse:

    Righthander Pat Light made his fifth appearance for the Twins on Wednesday, and unlike his rough weekend in Toronto, he had some success. Light relieved Alex Wimmers in the fourth inning, faced seven batters, and didn’t allow a hit. He walked two, though neither scored, and struck out three, before Molitor removed him with one out in the sixth.

    “It was pretty good,” Molitor said. “I didn’t want to stretch him out too far since he had a nice outing going.”

    Despite his beating in Toronto, where he recorded five outs in two games and allowed five runs, the Twins have been impressed with Light’s arm — he’s thrown up to 98 mph so far — and now are working with him on his pitch selection.

    “We’re trying to get him to use his fastball to make his off-speed pitches a little better,” Molitor said. “You can see when he gets in pitchers’ counts, he gets expansion [of the strike zone], with that splitter in particular.”

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    Rajai Davis opened the game with a double that got past an onrushing Max Kepler, and Jason Kipnis followed with a home run. But the homer was worth only one run, because Davis was no longer on base.

    He had been thrown out at third base on a steal attempt, with Miguel Sano holding the tag on Davis as he came off the bag. Why is that significant? Because Davis, who leads the American League with 33 stolen bases, has been caught just five times all year, an 86.8 percent success rate.

    It was notable for the Twins, too, however. It was the first base stealer that Kurt Suzuki had thrown out since July 17, and marked the second straight night that a Twins catcher had recorded a caught-stealing. The last time Twins catchers did that in back-to-back games? You have to go all the way back to Sept. 18-19, 2013, when Eric Fryer and Josmil Pinto managed it.

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    Pat Dean hasn’t started a Twins victory since June 12, and he hasn’t recorded a victory of his own since the night he memorably outpitched Felix Hernandez in Seattle, May 27. So he’s going to be a big underdog on Wednesday, when he faces the first-place Indians for a team that’s lost 12 straight. Oh, and he also will be facing Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, the 2014 Cy Young winner.

    OK, it’s not much, but there is a reason or two to hope for an upset. For one thing, there’s Dean’s win over Hernandez, proof that rookies can surprise you sometimes. And there’s this: Kluber has lost his last three starts to the Twins, and is only 6-5 overall, with a 3.76 ERA, in his career against Minnesota.

    

Albers gets second chance in Twins rotation tonight

    CLEVELAND — Andrew Albers is, his manager concedes, “a tick below … major-league standards” when it comes to pitching velocity. But there’s more to pitching than fastballs, and Paul Molitor admires Andrew Albers for the way he’s fought his way back to the major leagues.

    “I’m happy for him. He’s gone through a lot to continue his baseball career,” Molitor said before Albers’ first major-league start since 2013. “He’s had to travel across the oceans to keep it alive, but he’s back and getting another chance.”

    He has a chance to snap the Twins’ long losing streak tonight, an 11-gamer that has dropped the Twins within one game of Atlanta for worst record in the majors. Albers, a 30-year-old lefthander who pitched in South Korea and in independent ball since leaving the Twins, is a good model for young pitchers, Molitor said. “He’s a guy that you really like having around here, in terms of how he handles himself,” Molitor said. “He doesn’t have a large margin of error, but he’s not afraid. He takes what he has out there, he has confidence in what he does, and he knows the importance of getting strike one, which gives him an opportunity to expand the zone and use his other pitches.”

    Albers’ last debut for the Twins was a memorable one: He pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings against Kansas City and Cleveland.

    The Twins hope to give him a little more support than the zero runs they provided for Hector Santiago on Monday. Joe Mauer is the designated hitter tonight, with Eduardo Escobar back at shortstop against Cleveland righthander Josh Tomlin, who has beaten Tomlin twice this season.

    Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Mauer DH

Plouffe 1B

Sano 3B

Kepler RF

Escobar SS

Rosario LF

Suzuki C

Schafer CF

 

Albers LHP

 

INDIANS

 

Davis CF

Kipnis 2B

Lindor SS

Napoli 1B

Santana DH

Ramirez 3B

Guyer LF

Almonte RF

Gimenez C

 

Tomlin RHP

Final, 8/30 R H E
Minnesota 49-83 4 10 0
Cleveland 75-56 5 9 1