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Twins Insider

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

Santana looks to get back on track as Twins look to sweep Cleveland

The Twins are on the verge of a sweep of the Indians in a three game series. How they got here is rather remarkable.

Miguel Sano has not played in a game yet this weekend. Sano, Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler did not play on Saturday.

A Twins starter has yet to pitch in the sixth inning in this series. Twins pitching, overall, has issued ten walks.

Yet they won 5-0 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday to get to this point.

Cleveland's contribution to all of this can't be overlooked. From Trevor Bauer's errant throw on Friday to Jason Kipnis and Yan Gomes blundering on Saturday, the defending AL champions haven't exactly played clean baseball.

The most damning statistic of the weekend so far: Cleveland is 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position. And the Indians have left 20 runners on base. The Indians offense has not existed, and it has them on the verge of being on the wrong end of a reverse facial. ‭l stole and modified that term from Al Newman. The reverse facial is when a team gives up a crooked number only to come back and return the favor. I'm extending it to series. Cleveland took four from the Twins last week, and the Twins have a chance to take three here this weekend.

And they have Ervin Santana on the mound today. Santana should be looking to bounce back after a rough outing against the White Sox on Tuesday (in a win). He has a 7.04 ERA this month, too, as he has struggled with his usually trusty slider.

Headed to the clubhouse to check on lineups and see if the ailing Sano and Rosario are any better today. Will check back with lineups and any updates.

UPDATES

The A lineup is back, as Sano, Rosario and Kepler are all in the lineup for this series finale.

Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rodgers are not available today after pitching in the first two games of the series. If the Twins have a lead, it will be interesting to see whom they turn to in the late innings to get the ball to Brandon Kintzler.

Phil Hughes threw a scoreless inning Saturday for Class AAA Rochester and is scheduled to throw again today as he recovers from arm discomfort and prepares for a relief role. He threw 21 pitches Saturday, 16 for strikes. And Molitor said that Hughes was 90-92 on the gun.

Ryan Pressly threw two scoreless innings, striking out three. He was 94-97 on the gun, Molitor said, and spun a good breaking ball. Look for more roster moves this week if Hughes and Pressly continue to pitch effectively.

Brent Rooker, the Twins first round compensation pick in the draft, had a big debut for rookie league Elizabethton, Tenn. last night. He went 4-for-5 with a double, home run and two RBI. Look for him to spend a couple weeks at E-Town before heading to Cedar Rapids.

Twins

Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Miguel Sano, DH
Max Kepler, RF
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Eddie Rosario, LF
Jorge Polanco, SS
Jason Castro, C
Byron Buxton, CF


Indians

Francisco Lindor, SS
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Jose Ramirez, 3B
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Carlos Santana, 1B
Lonnie Chisenhall, RF
Austin Jackson, LF
Bradley Zimmer, CF
Yan Gomes, C

Josh Tomlin, RHP

Postgame: Call them the Road Twins


Here are some quick notes following the Twins' victory over Cleveland:

ROAD TWINS: They can't explain why they are 22-9 on the road but 16-25 at home. But they have talked about it. "We have been joking around about it. We call ourselves the Road Twins now. I don't know if there are less things to worry about on the road, guys having a lot of kids, I know I try to get as much sleep as I can on the road. That helps, I guess. You just don't have as many things tugging on you in different directions."

HOLD THE BALL: Twins manager Paul Molitor said they covered the situation in spring training. With a runner on third, they have to assess the risk and reward of attempting audacious plays with runners on third base. Jorge Polanco tried it in the seventh inning when he threw to first wildly while trying to turn an inning-ending double play. Reliever Matt Belisle was covering first at the time and had little chance to catch the ball unless he came off the bag quicker. "We don't really have much of a chance there," Molitor said. "It's a tough play for the pitcher to make that catch and we kind of gave them that run. I'd rather take a shot at the next guy with first (base) and third with two outs than take the chance of making a difficult play."

GIBSON UNEVEN: Kyle Gibson said he did have his curveball on Saturday, and it affected him against the Indians. But,with a good defensive behind him, he should throw more strikes and let the Indians put the ball in play. He tied a season low by striking out one. Of the 93 pitches he threw on Saturday, 48 we strikes. It's hard to believe that the Twins are 2-0 in this series without a starter pitching into the sixth.