Twins face Guardians, looking to bolster AL Central lead

Twins face Guardians, looking to bolster AL Central lead


A pair of division rivals will try to win the rubber match of a three-game series when the Minnesota Twins face the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday afternoon in Minneapolis.

The Twins won the series opener 10-6 on Monday before the Guardians pulled even with a 4-2 victory on Tuesday. The split of the first two games of the series means that Cleveland remains six games behind Minnesota for first place in the American League Central as the final month of the regular season approaches.

Royce Lewis has homered in three straight games for the Twins. He and young teammates such as Matt Wallner and Edouard Julien have provided a spark to Minnesota as it eyes a run at the postseason.

“I’ve talked about what young legs do for a team,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “They do, literally, good things. Because they’re actually young and lively and springy, and they run around and dive and can stay on the field more than some of the veteran guys.

“Figuratively, they bring the energy, they bring these other benefits that are hard to quantify. But they keep you young, whether you’re a staff member like myself or a veteran player. They keep you going and keep you on your toes and keep things fresh.

“Truthfully, when they’re productive, like they have been, they bring you more wins, too.”

Guardians right-hander Tanner Bibee (10-3, 3.01 ERA) will try to stymie the Twins‘ young hitters. The 24-year-old rookie has given Cleveland a jolt of energy from the mound, where he has struck out 117 batters in 119 2/3 innings.

Bibee recently was asked about his emergence as the Guardians‘ stopper. In his most recent start, he limited the Toronto Blue Jays to two runs in six innings on Friday. Cleveland held on for the win to snap a two-game skid.

“I don’t necessarily think of myself like that (as a stopper), but I think after a loss, there’s definitely a little bit of a chip,” Bibee said. “Obviously, the ball is in the pitcher’s hand, and they have the best control over the game.

“So I think being able to come in after a loss and get us back on track, I think every good team needs that. Whether it’s in the lineup, in the bullpen, in the starting rotation, every team needs it.”

Veteran right-hander Sonny Gray (7-6, 3.06 ERA) will try to get the Twins back on track after their loss one night earlier. Gray is coming off a win over the Texas Rangers in his most recent outing, in which he allowed only one run in seven innings on Friday.

Gray is 6-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 17 career starts against Cleveland. In two starts vs. the Guardians this year, he is 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA.

Bibee allowed three runs on six hits in five innings during his lone career start against the Twins, a no-decision on June 1 in Minneapolis.

Bibee said he is trying to use his changeup more to keep hitters off balance.

“I think it’s just one of those things where I feel like I have to throw it,” Bibee said. “I can’t just be like a two, a two-and-a-quarter pitch mix to righties. I think being able to throw that changeup to righties is a very important thing I can do to go deep into games.”

—Field Level Media


Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.