CLEVELAND — Pat Dean outpitched Felix Hernandez in Seattle on May 27. Now he’ll try to repeat that performance against another Cy Young winner here at Progressive Field.
Corey Kluber, who has won six straight decisions and is 10-2 since June 1, and who hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since the All-Star break, is on the mound for the Indians tonight, making the Twins’ task in snapping their 12-game losing streak particularly challenging. “His stuff is high tier, he’s got extra velocity when he needs it, and he’s got one of the best sliders in the game,” manager Paul Molitor said with a shrug. “He knows how to pitch in on both lefties and righties.”
That’s a skill that Dean must count on, too. Also critical: Not fixating on his best pitch, the cut fastball.
“He’s got to mix in the curve and the changeup. They’re not maybe his best pitches, but they need to be part of the mix because when he gets too fastball/cutter dominated, everything is kind of on the same plane,” Molitor said. “We all know he likes that cutter. He gets in trouble when he leaves it out over the plate too much, because it’s at a speed that’s easily handled by most hitters.”
This is the final game of a six-game trip, and the Twins, who have played 19 road games this month, are certainly looking forward to heading home. They’d like to do it without history hanging over their heads: A loss tonight would mean they have a chance to tie the worst losing streak in franchise history on Thursday.
The Indians acquired outfielder Coco Crisp, who began his career here, from the A’s today, but he won’t be in Cleveland tonight.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s series finale: