CLEVELAND — The Twins had to remind themselves today about something remarkable: They can still win this series.
It doesn’t really feel like it, not after Saturday night’s 17-4 disaster, not after their pitching staff has been absolutely demolished for almost a week. But they rallied to win on Friday, and can put this week’s rough road trip in the past with a getaway win.
Too bad there’s a Cy Young winner on the mound against them.
“He’s not getting the attention he did last year because of his record. But when we look at the numbers, he’s been a horse,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Corey Kluber, who takes his 6-12 record to the mound in the finale of this three-game set today. “He’s thrown a ton of innings. His hits, less than innings pitched, strikeouts more than innings pitched — the numbers are all there.”
He allowed two runs over eight innings against the Twins on April 17. But he also gave up five runs in less than six innings against the Angels in his last start.
“If he’s got his good stuff, it’s going to be challenging,” Molitor said. “You’ve got to grind it out, and hope he makes some mistakes and guys are ready to take advantage.”
Phil Hughes pitches for the Twins, “and he’s the right guy, given the circumstances,” Molitor said. “You feel good about his chances of getting you at least semi-deep in the game, if not real deep. I’m hoping for the latter.”
Here are the lineups as the Twins attempt to remain above .500: