CLEVELAND — The Twins will face an old foe today in Cleveland. They hope to see an updated version of their own pitcher.
Bruce Chen was added to Cleveland’s roster for today’s game, after posting a 2-1 record and 1.74 ERA for Class AAA Columbus. This will mark the 11th major-league team Chen has pitched for — he’s one of only a handful of active players who ever wore an Expos uniform — and he will start against the Twins for the 14th time in his career.
(Some unexpected trivia: Chen is currently tied for the most wins ever earned by a pitcher from his home country. What country? Answer later.)
Meanwhile, the Twins start Phil Hughes, who is trying to build upon his first victory of the season, earned Monday against the A’s. Twins manager Paul Molitor believes Hughes’ reputation as a strike thrower, and especially a fastball-cutter specialist, is working against him, and he’s made an important adjustment.
“His MO became pretty familiar to everybody around the league. He was going to attack you, he was going to throw strikes. Everyone we’ve played has come out swinging,” Molitor said. “He found out in his last start, when he started using the curve and even the change, which he used more extensively than in any of his other starts, that he got some people off his best pitches.”
Hughes will still be aggressive, Molitor said, but he expects the righthander to rely more on off-speed pitches than normal, in hopes of keeping Cleveland off-balance.
The Twins are without Trevor Plouffe today; the third baseman traveled to Texas this morning for the funer of his grandfather, Tom Armijo, but he will return in time for tomorrow’s game, Molitor said. With Plouffe absent, catcher Kurt Suzuki, who doubled twice last night, makes his first appearance of the season in the cleanup spot.
(Trivia answer: Chen is from Panama, and he and Mariano Rivera are tied with 82 wins apiece among Panamanians.)
Here are the lineups for Game 2 of this series: